A Community Network Grows in Brooklyn…and NYC

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Frustrated with telecoms, government, and just plain sub-par internet service, NYC Mesh is the community organization for do-it-yourself broadband fanciers. Vice.com spoke with spokesperson Scott Rasmusen about the impetus that got NYC Mesh off the ground. “NYC Mesh is more than happy to support anyone interested in building a community network,” he said. 

“Our website includes information about every facet of our network and how-to guides for building your own. We also offer technical training to give all people the opportunity to become community network leaders and experts.”

With “Supernode” at its core, NYC Mesh began as a single gigabit, fiber-based antenna with hardware support that could reach up to 300 buildings. Members mount window or rooftop routers to connect to an IXP rather than a traditional service provider. NYC Mesh is a non-profit outfit that relies on volunteers and donors to bring broadband coverage to western Brooklyn. 

Participation in the NYC Mesh network suggests a contribution of $20 or $50 for individuals, or $110 per month for a business. Initially, users typically pay $110 for a WiFi router and antenna, and $50 to install the hook-up. “NYC Mesh believes in an open, neutral, and resilient internet that is accessible to all people—no matter what their home may look like or how much they can afford,” said Rasumussen. “We believe that the best way of achieving this is to build a network that is entirely community owned and managed.” 

Recently launched “Supernode3” is expanding the network service to sections of Manhattan and Brooklyn. NYC Mesh’s business model also declares that information from users respects the user’s privacy and does not store an individual’s usage data.  Vowing never to prioritize one provider over another, NYC Mesh is also an avid proponent of network neutrality. 

July 1, 2019

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