2009-06-14 18:13 — Mark Burdett
510pen is a community wireless network for the East Bay region of the San Francisco Bay Area.
What is a community wireless network?A community wireless network is a local network for your neighborhood, with one or more connections to the global Internet. Community wireless networks grow with communities - when two neighbors purchase one DSL link and share it using a wireless link between their houses, they have just built the smallest possible community wireless network. Even better is when ten neighbor households share two DSL lines and a cable modem line over a wireless mesh network, while using a virtual whiteboard (in the form of a wiki) to supplement their in-person neighborhood communications.
Our mission510pen believes that community wireless networks can simultaneously help bring geographic communities closer together while connecting them to people and resources all over the world. Municipal wireless networks, centrally-maintained cousins of community wireless networks, are growing in popularity - but they're prohibitively expensive to build and maintain. In contrast, community wireless networks can be started with a small investment and grown household by household.
Who we are510pen is a partnership of Cernio Technology Cooperative and Media Alliance. We plan to establish 510pen as a non-profit member-benefit cooperative.
What we're up toIn June 2009, 510pen began collecting information and testing solutions for building a community wireless mesh network. We deployed our first mesh nodes in Oakland and Berkeley in July 2009. 510pen forged a partnership with Raising Our Voices to provide sliding-scale broadband hardware and installation to Oakland community groups paired with capacity-building workshops. As of October 2009, we are holding regular mesh meetups in the East Bay and at the Noisebridge hacklab in San Francisco, launching new mesh nodes in the East Bay, and talking to potential community partners.
How can I contribute?Please sign up as a beta tester!