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County-wide Wireless Broadband 125

An anonymous submitter sent in this story about a Maryland county providing wireless broadband to everyone, well, almost everyone, anyway. The article doesn't mention how much the service costs, and I don't see anything on the network's website either. There is a good page of information about the network, though.
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County-wide Wireless Broadband

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  • Err... (Score:2, Funny)

    by NiftyNews ( 537829 )
    Gee, I'm glad no one wasted the $2 on a phone call to this place to get some relevent info before posting it for half a million people to read ;)
    • Re:Err... (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by laserjet ( 170008 )
      No kidding...

      Attention Slasdot Editors,

      Please check links before you post an article. You can't blaim this one on the submitter. It takes about 4 seconds. There really is not other excuse. It bothers me to see such obvious lack of caring from a site who is asking their users to pay money and subsribe. For what?

      Thanks,


      The Slashdot Community
  • Countywide LAN parties! X)
  • broken link (Score:5, Informative)

    by klaviman ( 543484 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:39PM (#3189323) Homepage
    The correct link is here [industryclick.com]
  • Try this one [industryclick.com].
  • I think this page [cycomm-mobile.com] is the URL that is buggered up in the article. Enjoy!
  • by client32 ( 316110 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:41PM (#3189346)
    It clearly states the price on the web site. It is "almost free"
  • by swagr ( 244747 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:41PM (#3189351) Homepage
    The government has now scrapped tempest and optical time-domain eavesdropping techniques.
    They report the technilogies as being "no longer required [now that those fools broadcast everything]".
  • Public Utility (Score:2, Informative)

    I hate to say it but it seems like making broadband a public utility like water and electricity seems to work out well. In Tacoma, Washington the city gov. formed a broadband cable company and there modems and service is going strong and they did not have to endure the demise of @home...
    • I am curious as to why you "hate to say it".

      Do you think that this will bring problems down the road?

      Do you just feel like the Government should not be involved?

      I would think that if there are things that government can do well (a short list in my opinion), then we should be glad to see them do it.

      I hope you explain further as you have piqued my curiosity.

      .
      • Re:Public Utility (Score:3, Interesting)

        by laserjet ( 170008 )
        I can't speak for the person you replied to, but if you asked me the same question, I would reply:

        Because I would not like to see the government get involved.

        My philosophy is for minimal government, and that government should only exist where it would not be possible to do something otherwise. Here is a few examples:

        The United States Postal Service: There was a definate need here to send packages back and forth across the nation, and the governement was definately right for stepping in and fulfilling the need of our young nation. However, now we still have the USPS and the need is not there. There are other couriers who would be able to deliver your packages more quickly and cheaper than the government. Many people do not see this point, because they are subsidizing the post office, and it "seems" like it is often cheaper. In reality, your tax dollars pay for the "cheaper" price. If non governement couriers (i.e. Fedex, UPS, etc) were to get the big chunk of business that the governement currently has, we would see cheaper rates, better service, and we would have a choice. There was initially a need for the governement to have a postal service, now there is not.

        Another example is the recent switch of airport security personnel to be government employees. Does anyone feel safer just because the government is doing the security now? I sure don't. In many cases, it is the exact same people doing the job. The governement did this for one reason: control. Having more control over the security workers is a good thing, but at what cost? The price we pay for the government to control things is a slow-moving, slow-correcting animal.

        Now, sure I would love to have high-speed wireless access in my community, it would be awesome. but it would do two things:

        1) It would not allow for any competitors to come in and start their own service. Competition is good. Ultimately the consumer would get better service at a cheaper price.

        2) Service would most likely lack. In this, I mean new areas would be slow to be covered with wireless access because of all the red tape needed to secure additional governement funding as projects grow. Customer service would likely become lackluster as there is no need to provide a high level of service if you are the only game in town.


        So, I would rather see corporations move in and let capitalism and all it's effects (good and bad) rule over what kind of service we get. It may not always work, but in my opinoing, if the government does not HAVE to provide a service, they should let competitors provide it.



        • You're wrong about one thing: the USPS does not drain your taxes. It is actually a profitable government agency (yes, I know, hard to beleive).

          -Laxitive
        • Unfortunately, your argument about the USPS is terribly flawed.

          There are other couriers who would be able to deliver your packages more quickly and cheaper than the government.
          The only correct in this statement are "there are other couriers". The USPS has been refining postal delivery for hundreds of years... they are simply light years ahead of other couriers. The only reason other couriers seem better is because of the tiny amount of stuff they carry compared to the USPS. Competition is good... no doubt. But in the case of postal delivery, the USPS is the best solution.

          Many people do not see this point, because they are subsidizing the post office
          Um, no. The USPS is required by law to be self-sustaining... and it is. It's also required to not make a profit; Another reason why it will defeat any other couriers in cost.

          However, now we still have the USPS and the need is not there.
          This is just incorrect.

        • My philosophy is for minimal government, and that government should only exist where it would not be possible to do something otherwise.

          Enjoy your philosophy! This isn't something on the federal level, or even the state level. It's very local. This means that if you don't want your local community doing this, and enough of your neighbors agree with you, it won't happen. That's the beauty of projects on the local level.

          Service would most likely lack. In this, I mean new areas would be slow to be covered with wireless access because of all the red tape needed to secure additional governement funding as projects grow.

          And of course, we all know how difficult it is for new areas to get water, sewer, electric, and telephone service.

        • I understand the general drift of your arguments, but think that you are somewhat confused as to the relevancy of variou points.
          The USPS is a service for all Americans, not just the few who live in urban areas. A 34 cent stamp to deliver any letter to any place in the US is not a business model that your courier services would seek to emulate. Competition is a good thing as all will agree. There are some things that do not benefit from competition such as your example of airport security. While the federalizing of security personell seems somewhat knee-jerk in light of recent events, did you feel more secure in the past knowing that as you boarded an airplane that your safety was put in the hands of people who were willing to work for the least amount of money? For whatever reason, the roll out of broadband has been hit and miss. I consider myself lucky that ATT chose Salt Lake City as one of their first markets to introduce cable broadband. In spite of the demise of @home, my service has been very reliable and the transition from @home was only three days in my case. But this is not the rule across the country. The telecommunications act of 96 forced the ILECs to cooperate with the CLECs. What CLECs like Rythyms and Jato as well as a host of others failed to forsee was that the cooperation was going to be grudging, slow, and only to the letter as required by law. In hindsight their failures seemed obvious. With the CLECs out of the way, the roll out has slowed to a crawl. There are many areas of the country where you cannot get any broadband of any kind other than sattelite which is very expensive and not particularly satisfying to use. Getting back to the USPS example. If the private sector is unwilling to provide a service that in the future will seem as necessary as electricity is today, then perhaps the local community should step in.
        • anyone see that can of worms over there? looks like it's recently been opened :)!

          i tend to agree with your "less gov't" thought, but in the case of public utilities such as broad band, water, electricity, etc it makes good sense to me that these should be initiated and run by the local government. why? because it quickly gets this utility available to every resident in the area. if electricity started as a privately run item, would any electric company run power out to the less densly populated areas? how about water companies? (ok these guys still don't run water everywhere, but there's an acceptable alternative).

          now if i come into a city/county whatever and want to setup a high speed internet utility company (i really don't see how can we call these service companies, but that's a little off topic), i can choose which areas i want to setup lines for right, after all i'm a private company, i can do whatever the hell i want. so i run lines in the neighbourhoods that will be most profitable for me. i personally would start with the middle to upper class neighborhoods. a trailer park wouldn't even be within scope. you can say, well that's just capitalism running its course, and that may be true, but we're not really a capitalist society.

          i would suggest the local govt's setup these utilities and recoup the cost over a period of say 10-15 years. after which time, other companies can come in to compete for business based on service, etc. local phone companies are starting to try this, and quite frankly it doesn't seem to really be taking off in this area.

        • You are making the same, tired arguments that have been made for decades.

          Utilities should be tightly regulated or even owned by the government. Why? Profit-motivated corporations cannot be trusted to provide essential services to the public at a reasonable rate.

          The road system and water&sewer systems are a great example of a public utilities that work.

          In the northeast, de-regulation of electric and gas service has resulted in delivery & supply rate increases of 80% over the last 10-15 years. Instead of competing, suppliers withhold electricity and gas to keep prices high.

      • It seems that another poster has crystalized my thoughts exactly. The only thing I care to emphasize is that it does forstall any compitition. We could find ourselves in a situation where the gov suspends it's broadband services and there is no company that could provide like services...
  • Allegheny Co. Maryland is a pit of boredom. Not that that is a bad thing. I went to school for a few years out there, and there was NOTHING to do. Not a single thing. Okay, drink heavily. And go to the cheap first run movie theatre.

    I wish them well with the project. I remember how bad the FM radio reception was. Even with towers and repeaters at the tops of the highest peaks, it was still spotty, at best. It varied with where you were, what time of the year (not all of the foliage is pine trees), the temperature, etc.

    I'd comment more, but at this point in time, the link is broken.

    (Oh, the boredom was nice. Particularly in Winter and Summer session. Plenty of time to read, relax, meditate. But it can get a little grating after a while.)

    • How quickly you forget. It is Allegany county, we are the only ones who spell it right.

      True FM isn't the best, but this are point to multi-point fixed wireless. Each subscriber will have a small parabolic dish fixed on their building focused on the tower.

      And yes the towers are on all the highest peaks, the company I work for owns a couple of the tower sites.

      P.S. I don't drink, but movies are still cheap, $3.50 if I tell 'em I'm a student (4.50 if not).
      • I never could remember how to spell it. That's what you get from a Frostburg grad:)

        Has deployment to residences started yet? The web pages cited seemed a bit vague.

      • I'm also a Frostburg Grad. I know Mr. Blank personally...we had classes together and still hangout when I get a chance to visit.

        His work on the (both wireless and wired) network is a very cool thing...the plans for the future look even better. I know they are working on getting additional connectivity to the outside world...which should make the wireless net all the more usefull.

  • Also in London, UK (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Mr Windows ( 91218 )
    There's a pilot scheme called Consume [consume.net] in London. More details in the BBC article [bbc.co.uk]. The idea is that the network is made up of "nodes": PCs with wireless cards, and people connect to that. It's supposed to be low cost and community-based, and seems like a really nifty idea!
  • More info (Score:5, Informative)

    by laserjet ( 170008 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:44PM (#3189377) Homepage
    It looks like they use a bunch of provides and tieit all into their network. Man... if they did this where I lived I would nut my shorts...

    High Speed wireless access

    The High-Speed Wireless network is the core of the ALLCONET network providing high-speed access to all members with little or no ongoing charges. Speeds are multiples of current T1 technology, installation is simplistic, and security is irrefutable.

    Allconet implements a 10 Mbps backbone thought Allegany county encompassing 7 strategically located towers. The ALLCONET network uses 3 types of equipment to implement a 10 Mbps backbone with 2 and 3 Mbps spurs to building locations.

    Breezecom - Breezecom was selected because of it's multi-point ability and 802.11 compliance. Breezecom operates in the 2.4 Ghz frequency range and is a frequency hopper. This unlicensed frequency hopper is excellent at avoiding frequency collisions and load balancing in multi-point installations. Security is achieved by Breezecom by using both DES 3 a frequency hopping ID. This a 3 Mbps unit offering actual throughput of 2.34 Mbps. The cost of this unit makes it an extremely fast and cheap alternative to T1 access. Coverage of this unit is typically 2-4 miles in a 30 degree arc. Software developed by ALLCONET allows 24 hour signal strength and traffic monitoring. Antenna alignment problems are often discovered and corrected before network performance is affected.

    Speedlan - Speedlan 2 was selected because of it's price vs. distance factor and multi-point ability. Speedlan operates in the 900 Mhz or 2.4 Ghz frequency range and is a direct sequencer. This unlicensed sequencer is excellent at avoiding frequency collisions. Multi-point installations are switch using a 42,000 MAC address table. Security is achieved by using both DES 3 a unit IDs. This a 2 Mbps unit offering actual throughput of 1.78 Mbps. Coverage of this unit is typically 4-9 miles in a 25 degree arc. Software developed by ALLCONET allows 24 hour signal strength and traffic monitoring. Antenna alignment problems are often discovered and corrected before network performance is affected.

    Speedlan - Speedlan 10 was selected because of it's distance and speed. Speedlan 10 operates in the 2.4 Ghz frequency range and is a direct sequencer. This unlicensed sequencer is an excellent choice for speed and security. Security is achieved by using both DES 3 a unit IDs. This a 10 Mbps unit offering actual throughput of 6.78 Mbps. Coverage of this unit is typically 9-20 miles in a 5 degree arc. This is a point to point unit and is only used in ALLCONET for backbone links.

    Wavespan - Wavespan was selected because of it's distance, speed and frequency. Wavespan operates in the 5.8 Ghz frequency range, is a direct sequencer, and makes an excellent alternative in a 2.4 Ghz rich environment. This unlicensed sequencer is excellent for speed and security. Security is achieved by unit IDs and extremely directional antennas . This a 10 Mbps unit offering actual throughput of 8.78 Mbps. Coverage of this unit is typically 7-9 miles in a 1.5 degree arc. This is a point to point unit and is only used in ALLCONET for backbone links.
    • And before someone gets anal, when I say providers, I mean equipment providers.

      now just a little diddy here to passify the lameness filter...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "country-wide" and clicked through faster than you can shake a lamb by its tail three times.

    Now I know how all those people feel outside the U.S. when they click through on subjects with "universal" in the title applying to (most of) the 48 contiguous states :(
  • by hillct ( 230132 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @02:44PM (#3189385) Homepage Journal
    My reading of their website is that the costs of network operations are covered in county taxes. This is a great way to encourage those who may not have broadband access to make use of the service, since they're paying for it anyway. Granted this is the position of the technically inclined. Those less technically inclined might take umbrage at paying taxes to facilitate a service that they may not choose to use. Of course, the same argument has been made by senior citizens and those without childrand regarding town and county taxes fupporting schools, where they may not have any children in attendance, but since in that case, the arguments have been easily rebuffed, I suppose the arguments against county taxes going toward provision of network access, could be just as easily if not more easily rebuffed.

    --CTH
    • I can understand the argument. But in this case, it might encourage people to move into the area. And that is badly needed. Allegheny Co. is largely interchangeable with any of hundreds of areas from Pittsburgh, through West Va. down to the Gulf. They all have their problems. The problem in All. Co. is that the mines are spent. There's no work. If this gets some tech types to move in, that's a good thing. And I'm glad that the citizens who approved this understand that.

    • Far as I can tell, the industryclick.com article doesn't suggest Allconet would be funded through county tax revenues. Rather, the new network would be operated as a utility -- i.e., you use it, you pay for it; you don't, you don't.

      (Of course, there's always a third option: you use it, you don't pay for it, and you end up in a nice jail funded by county taxes. So indirectly, you might be onto something there...)

    • This is a great way to encourage those who may not have broadband access to make use of the service, since they're paying for it anyway. Granted this is the position of the technically inclined. Those less technically inclined might take umbrage at paying taxes to facilitate a service that they may not choose to use.

      Technically inclined has nothing to do with it. Any non-Democrat should take umbrage at having to pay for things they don't use.

      Reduce taxes and bring on user fees instead.
      • I meant technically inclined in the sense of those who are likely to use the service and derive benefit from it's provition and funding through county taxes. Certainly there is an argument that democrats may be more in favor of this service in that democrats are seemingly always in favor of more government spending but I didsn't want to open that hornets nest.

        --CTH
    • You're right. Just as I take (or could, it's rarely that I even think about it) umbrage at subsidizing people who can't seem to keep a job yet get pregnant every year or two? due to my age, gender, race and marital status most of my taxes go to programs that have nothing to do with me. It's about time tax money goes to pay for something I want. Too bad I live in Harford County, MD ;)
  • "What is Allconet?
    ALLCONET is our public Web site for Allegany County and consists of a partnership of four entities -- the Allegany County Library System, the Board of Education of Allegany County, the Allegany County Commissioners, and the City of Cumberland. ALLCONET is an innovative and creative approach to meeting the information needs of our schools and communities."...

    ...until you bastards go out there and slashdot them.
  • Here's [businessweek.com] some more information on large-scale wireless networks that companies like Sprint and WorldCom are considering.

    Also, here's [cabledatacomnews.com] a list of other areas where wireless broadband ventures are being explored.
  • I live in a large rural area and even out this way, there's a demand for broadband access to the Internet. I feel that a joint partnership with the county, the service provider, and any technicians willing to work with individuals in upgrading computers to work on a countywide broadband network, people here will be very pleased and the economists won't see the area as lagging behind in technology.
  • The areticle is here [industryclick.com]
  • by nakhla ( 68363 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @03:00PM (#3189478) Homepage
    My girlfriend is from Cumberland, and she's a total non-geek. She won't believe it when I tell her that her hometown is mentioned on Slashdot.

    Cumberland is very far out of the way, though. It's a small city in the mountains of western Maryland. You can't even get decent cellular phone reception out there. In fact, I don't think they have any digital coverage at all.

    The cost of living is low there, and it's a nice place to live if you like the small-town atmosphere and don't mind semi-rural communities too much. However, the lack of high-tech jobs and broadband does inhibit some people from moving there. It's good to see one of these factors being removed. Perhaps it will bring more telecommuting to the area!
    • You think that's amazing. I'm in Cumberland now, been reading Slashdot forever. I'm totally wacked out.

      Not to mention the fact that the company I work for is the one providing some of the tower sites for this project, and I at one time interviewed with the Allconet (BoE).

      I don't know about lack of broadband, I have 3Mbps (wireless) to my house. :)
    • by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @03:45PM (#3189718) Journal
      My girlfriend is from Cumberland, and she's a total non-geek. She won't believe it when I tell her that her hometown is mentioned on Slashdot.

      And by your own admission, she won't care, either.
    • Wow! Frederick (Score:2, Informative)

      by FathomIT ( 464334 )
      Frederick area is also covered wirelessly.
      Check out Frederick Wireless:

      http://www.frederickwireless.com/
  • High tech valley needs ubiquitous broadband, badly. Heck, it'd be nice to wire up the entire SF bay area like this. Next step, IPv6 IPsec transmitters to go on all cell phone towers in the bay. That'll _really_ kick start the economy around here. Can you imagine all the spinoffs it would create?
  • "Connecting the county's sparse, widespread populace with fiber would have cost $180 million. By comparison, the radio buildout will cost the county between $2.9 million and $5 million, most of which the county plans to raise through state grants, Blank said. With that investment, Allconet will be able to offer 85% of the county's population, 95% of its businesses and 100% of its business parks broadband access."
    It appears that IF they can raise the money in grants, then it won't cost John Q. Taxpayer much, if at all. Well, I doubt it. Besides, unless they can offer 100% county-wide coverage, and i'm in a non covered area, then I would want a tax break. Otherwise, I'll move just over the countyline and setup a repeater and live in another county. :)
  • Let's see that is only like 3-4 hourse from my job near Washington DC or my house in Baltimore. Yes that is quiet a drive but hey you get free broadband! What the heck the heck I-95 seems to get worse all the time maybe in a few years it will take 3-4 hours to get from Baltimore to DC and you don't even get good broadband (crappy comcast@ home err I mean comcast.net.)
  • I went to Frostburg State University (5000 students), which is just outside of Cumberland. It was extremely frustrating to not have access to broadband in the area. It's 2 hours from DC, 2 hours from Baltimore, and 2 hours from Pittsburgh. Yes, The Boonies (tm).

    Only a couple of years ago, the only ISP available in the area was AOL.

    If they can pull this off, this will do wonders for the region. Cumberland has the second highest poverty rate in the state of Maryland. Once, it rivaled Baltimore, but then the C&O Canal stopped being used (Cumberland is on the western terminus of the canal), and Cumberland plumeted into poverty.
    • I don't know when you were here, but AOL was never the only ISP. It was a long distance call to Frederick until just recently.

      There have always been a few ISPs in the area though. There was the Crystal Palace which started operateing in 1995, followed quickly by MicroIntegration, both located in Frostburg, and NetBiz.

      Still I don't think this Allconet project will have an antenna facing Frostburg (I could be wrong you can see the Dan's Rock tower from Frostburg), but FSU has ethernet in the dorms coming out of University of Maryland.
      • yes AOL was a *local* call (cumberland number), well before MicroIntegration was around. I was lived in Frostburg from 1994 - 2001. This was before even the university had dialup access. And I remember NetBiz, I had a friend that worked for them before Earthlink bought them out.

        But before all that, AOL was the only one, well, maybe The Crystal Palace offered access...I always thought it was just a BBS.
        • Wow, this is getting off topic. But what speed was the AOL dial-up? 2400 for the Cumberland number, and 4800 for a LaVale? I do remember those two numbers which weren't really AOL numbers, but a network (I forget it's name) that would connect you to AOL.

          The 2400bps number was located at Two Way Radio service. Which is now TWR Communications [twrcommunications.com] who is the company I work for that as I mentioned in other posts is providing a couple tower sites for the Allconet (yay, back on topic).

          After Mindsping bought out MicroIntegration and NetBiz, TWR started their own Internet service, hereintown.net [hereintown.net], which is still flurishing today. So there really was never a lack of a local provider, at least since 1995.
          • actually, the AOL I remember was 1200 baud! I can't believe I put up with that crap, heh. It was before 56k was available everywhere (even in cities..i think it was during the time of the 2 56k standards). Yeah, that's right, it was mindspring and not earthlink that bought those guys out.....yep, hereintown..i almost used those guys but just setteled on the university access...i used to work in the university computer labs (making web pages for nonprofits around the county)
  • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @03:22PM (#3189597) Homepage Journal
    This looks like a fabulous technical setup, and I must admit I'm a bit envious. Up here in rural New Hampshire, I can't get broadband either (besides high-latency satellites) and wireless looks like the best solution.

    There doesn't appear to be any commercial interest in doing so, despite sputterings from several companies. I'm assuming this is what happened in Allegany County also, then someone at the government took the bull by then horns.

    When the government decided everyone should have electricity, a different situation emerged - they incentivized private industry to get it done, through tax incentives. However, when the government decided everyone should have books, they opened libraries. When they thought everyone should have better TV they granted short-term monopolies. When they thought everyone should have telephones, they granted long-term monopolies.

    This project has many qualities of the above examples, and I'm not sure it's going the right way. Electrical transmission systems and libraries can afford to evolve as quickly as most government buracracies move, and that's not a problem. With the Internet, it might be a problem down the road. For a historical example, in some locales, governments did grand those long-term telephone monopolies to small companies, effectively paragovernments, and many people in those small towns are just now getting service reasonable enough to use with a modem. Will a government-run agency be able ot adapt fast enough when they next big thing comes along?
  • and then they won't be able to afford the line any more.
  • Picture yourself in the mountains, next to a stream on a nice sunny day....crushing your enemies online in Quake III.
  • by rekoil ( 168689 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @03:36PM (#3189674)
    1. I'm inferring that anyone who can point a dish at one of the towers can get a wireless signal. How is IP allocation, et al handled? Can one connect the dish to an ethernet hub and connect to multiple machines, or would NAT be required?

    2. How much does the CPE gear cost? What percentage of the homes in the area have a clear line of sight to a tower?

    3. Do the users get public or private IP addresses?

    4. How will abuse issues be handled? I didn't see an AUP at first glance...
    • 1) Ip allocations:
      I would expect that you get an IP addres from the DHCP server in 192.168/16. The may use overloaded NAT so they only need a few ip addresses
      2) 802.11 gear starts at about $50 plus another $100 for a decent antenna. Some of the better stuff may be up to about $700.
      3) Private
      4) The same way you keep people from pissing the loccal pool, Bubba and his drinking buddies show up at the lusers house and LART.

      The problem I see with this is that some of the frequencies they are using are overloaded and the other lines are pure line of sight. Low hill countryside means about 45% of the area will be shielded unless they have a very tall tower or single landsape feature. Even in that case 30% of the area will not be able to get a signal. These things work very well in areas where you've got a flat area and tall tower (Chicago) or a very tall mountain (Denver).

      Most of the wireless lan gear seems to be based on large city coverage and there are some cost considerations for small towns or rural areas. The cheap 802.11 stuff can cope with about 90 users and after that, there are scaleability issues.
  • In Zürich (Switzerland) WLAN access point have been installed on the lake side, in order to provide wireless internet access to people having a rest in the various parks around.

    The access is basically free (you just have to sign up to get a free account).

    More info (sorry, it's in german) here [surf-am-see.ch]
  • If you step back a little and look at the big picture, you can see what the big problem with connectivity is in pure capitalism: Verizon et al do not see any profit in rolling out bandwidth to rural communities, so, pfft, tough luck. Fortunately, we've been there before [feri.org], so there's hope that some day, some politico will have the vision and leadership to grab the bullcrap by the horns and get a data utility deployed, and overcome the so called 'digital divide' so all can benefit from the increased economic effeciency.

  • Two friggin counties away! Damn!

    I'm in Frederick County, MD. Maybe Frederick County can do something like this. Broadband here is the pits. DSL is available only in 1 area (and that area is only 2 square miles). Cable modem is horribly expensive ($42.99), one way only, and the crapper in speed (256k down/32k up). Wireless is available, but it's $89.99 for the basic package (same speeds as the cable modem).

    So, that leaves satellite or dial-up. Satellite latency is useless for online games, so I'm on dial-up. I just download large files at work and burn them to CD-RW.

    Maybe I can convince the wife to move 90 miles west. Of course, that's 90 more miles on my 50 mile commute to DC. UGH...

    Once again..
    CRAP CRAP CRAP CRAP!!!

  • by Foochar ( 129133 ) <foocharNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @03:53PM (#3189816) Journal
    I live next door to Allegany county and I really hope this spreads. I'd love to have government subsidized broadband available. I think Allegany county has about the best chance of any county in the nation to make this work. First off the Maryland government is big on internet access for the masses, in almost the entire state there are local dialups for lynx bassed web access. Additionally the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates is from Allegany county, so he can help to push state money through for this project.
    • We out here in Hesperia California could sure use It, As the Local Telephone Monopoly (Verizon ; ex-GTE ; ex-Contel) doesn't provide DSL beyond 3.5 miles (about 5.64 Kilometers) and Charter Cable won't have Cable Internet access at least until June at the very earliest. Of course Verizon is aware of that New DSL standard that uses 19awg wire to get DSL out to around 15 miles, Me I'm 5.125 Miles from the Nearest Verizon CO So I'm at least within range now, But No telling when Verizon will Upgrade the CO to this New DSL standard reported as by http://www.dslreports.com/ of Course.

      Victor Bobier
  • To me, the use of Allconet that's just about as cool (well, okay, almost as cool) as wireless broadband to the home is that they've gotten the local animal shelter on line. (The Cumberland Times-News had an article on this, mirrored here [newyearsparty.org].

    What that's meant is that, since people can easily see what animals are up for adoption without having to schlep down to the pound, the Allegheny County animal shelter had 60% of its stray animals adopted last year.

    That's two or three times the 20%-30% national average, which means a lot more happy kids, and a lot fewer wasted lives of animals.
    And it's a pretty low-tech process, once you've got a Web connection: a volunteer takes digital pictures every morning and puts them on a Web page.

    I'm a geek and I'm usually more wrapped up in orphaned hardware than orphaned animals, but this made me kinda happy.
    Are other animal shelters doing this?

  • These neighboring counties are languishing too. Verizon isn't serious about serving them, either. I'd pay taxes to have broadband and see Verizon have to suck up their losses. There are lots of people who want broadband out in the countryside, who are close to central switching facilities, that Verizon won't serve. It's easier to get a T1 out here, which is scary.

  • Info (Score:3, Informative)

    by BindMe ( 262037 ) on Tuesday March 19, 2002 @06:23PM (#3190904)
    Just thought i would add my input. I have been to allconet. I was a co-owner of a wireless isp in pa. DDG Wireless [ddgwireless.com] and we got to go down and spend a day with the guy who designed and maintains the system, Jeffry Blank. He was very nice and showed around the whole town, showed up all the network stuff.

    Basically this all started because in maryland libraries can recieve a free T-1 i think it is. Basically Jeff started by hooking up some of the schools and stuff. Only charges for equipment, and like 10 bucks a year for maintenence..

    Anyway. its a great system..Check out Allconet monitoring [allconet.org]. they do not use custom software to monitor the network. They use Netsaint [netsaint.org]. Although Jeff is an avid contributor to the plugins for that. I use his check_breeze.pl and some others that he wrote.

    All in all. if you get a chance go by and take a look. Its beautiful country and they Jeff is doing some amazing things with wireless.

    Just goes to show what can be accomplished by not being a totaly money grubber.. heh.. some things that are cheap are good.

    thanks
  • Good for them. It's nice to know that places with limited resources don't have to be at the mercy of large corporations. Maybe this will help other small communities that have to bargain for access.
  • ...that even with today's less than optimal job market, even mice are still able to find good jobs.
    ...said Stuart Little, director of solutions marketing for Stratex...
  • http://www.pdxwireless.com

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