Glenn has been lurking around and reporting on the community wireless scene for ages so it was good to catch up. We tried to hook up via Skype but the quality was terrible, fortunately iChat A/V came to the rescue. He has just written a nice overview of the last five years of community wireless.
The idea of building citywide wireless networks from the community level was suspiciously simple back in 2000, although the plans sounded like the work of underground revolutionaries. "All of us were very idealistic, and all quite strongly opinionated," said Adam Shand, founder of Personal Telco, which had visions of such a network in Portland, Ore.
From talking to Glenn afterwards, I think the coolest thing to come from this is that he was expecting to discover that community wireless was mostly dead or dying. Instead his investigation showed that not only was community wireless not dying, but that it was quietly thriving all over the USA.
Update: He has just posted a correction to fix some mistakes regarding Seattle Wireless.
January 20, 2006, Friday Because of an editing error, an article in the Circuits pages of Business Day yesterday about the influence of volunteer groups advocating wireless Internet access referred incorrectly to a network sponsored by one such group, Seattle Wireless. It comprises about 10 interconnected locations across central Seattle; it does not involve a single central point. The article and a picture caption also referred incorrectly to a tower where the group plans to mount relay equipment. It is a television tower, not a cellular tower.