Civic Wireless

Neighbors helping neighbors connect to the world

MISSION: Education and assistance with wireless networks for neighborhood associations, community organizations, and small businesses – enabling them to get connected at high speeds from miles away.

Let’s chat. New Inquiries and Free Advice.

We are talented Vermonters assisting our “last mile” neighbors with Internet and network connectivity. Call today for friendly and free advice on improving your rural and marine Internet service.

We primarily work with neighborhood associations and community organizations to provide education on Ubiquiti wireless networks. This equipment enables dozens of residences from up to miles away access to a central business class Internet connection. We also desire to help our neighbors organize into associations or co-ops to facilitate Internet sharing in their neighborhoods.

IN PARTNERSHIP WITH Laboratory B (laboratoryb.org)

Building Community Wi-Fi

As we recently discovered, there are two things that will kill a small Internet Service Provider in Vermont, particularly a wireless one:

Permitting, zoning, Act 250… you name it. Building cell tower sites is not cheap. Alternatively, you can pay $1000/month to rent space on a cell tower from the big boys.
Overhead of running an ISP. You need a big support staff, a huge amount of infrastructure, very expensive carrier class Internet connections, routing… yikes.

New example: You live next to your local library, and you use their open WiFi connection.

What if we could take the library’s excess Internet service and broadcast it to the community in the same way? But rather than transmitting just to the library’s immediate neighbors, the signal could carry for miles?

That is exactly what is possible with today’s long range WiFi technology. For $250 in hardware, any community organization can place an access point on their roof and cover a 120 degree spread. Community members would then place a small 5 inch by 2 inch antenna outside their home or in a window pointed at the access point. This antenna behaves exactly like the hardwired modem you have today, with a network cable running back inside to your router.

In line of sight conditions, we have tested this technology to be usable over 10 miles. Through trees or light brush, a mile or two is still often possible.

We are working with Big Heavy World / The Radiator WOMM-LP to establish an access point in Burlington. From the rooftop at Burlington College, this access point will have a good spread of North Ave. and Burlington’s Old North End. Big Heavy World will be the operator of the access point, and they have chosen to use it to share their excess Internet service with the community for free.

Another access point is operational in Grand Isle, with service to East Shore North residents as well as lakefront residents in Milton, Georgia, and St. Albans.

Contact us at info @ civicwireless.org for more details.

Stay warm, and enjoy the weekend.