WirelessToronto: a community wireless network for Toronto
The costs of deploying WiFi access points has dropped over the past few years, but commercial WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) are still trying to charge crazy rates for casual wireless Internet access. The same WISPs have been slow to deploy in Canada -- those hotspots that do exist are in areas obviously targeted at business users... the only ones who will pay their exorbitant rates.
Meanwhile, community wireless groups have emerged, attempting to fill the gaps by offering free wireless Internet access.
Montreal's Ile Sans Fil has an impressive centrally-managed network of hotspots -- 30 to-date. Their model is membership-based: hotspot "hosts" arrange their own connectivity, purchase the necessary hardware, and pay a $50/year membership fee. In return, they get a fully-managed hotspot, and can offer free Internet access to their clients/visitors.
In addition to offering Internet access, part of Ile Sans Fil's goal is to develop their hotspots' captive portal pages into a community resource -- for hotspot hosts to post information about upcoming events/exhibits/etc., but also for discussion, sharing of information, and the presentation of art projects. This initiative could have as -- or more -- important a role in the community as simple connectivity.
Toronto is sorely lacking a community wireless group; at the April Social Tech Brewing we'll discuss creating a group in Toronto which offers these services. Michael Lenczner from Ile Sans Fil will talk about the work that's been done in Montreal, and Gabe Sawhney will lead a discussion about approaches, models, and strategies for a community wireless group in Toronto.
So, please mark April 7th in your calendars! The event details are:
5:30 - 7PM
@ The Centre for Social Innovation
215 Spadina Avenue, Suite 120
Just north of Queen on the east side of Spadina
Also, Please RSVP so we have enough chairs.
Added by phillipadsmith on March 28, 2005