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How a DIY Network Plans To Subvert Time Warner Cable's NYC Internet Monopoly ( 90

Jason Koebler writes: Toppling a telecom monopoly is the dream of many Americans, but the folks at NYC Mesh are actually doing something about it. On any given weekend, Brian Hall and his fellow organizers can be found around the city, installing directional Wi-Fi routers on rooftops. Anyone in the city who lives near another person on the network is welcome to join, and NYC Mesh volunteers will help you install a rooftop router. The network is still small, but it has partnered with two internet exchanges to install "super nodes" that have a range of several miles and are connected directly to the backbone of the internet.
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How a DIY Network Plans To Subvert Time Warner Cable's NYC Internet Monopoly

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  • Community Activism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by surfdaddy ( 930829 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @07:57PM (#51370125)

    When there is a will there is a way. It's only a matter of time before the "last mile" problem finds alternate solutions. I *love* this!

    • They and others have been around for over a decade and are highly efficient. I assume that is what they are using.

      • This seems like a variation on the theme perpetrated in the trailer park to perfection.

        Moving to town from the ranch to satisfy the whims of the human I was happily sexing with, we ordered up some cable to go with the only rental our budget would allow. It was like Christmas in April on our row, since the last paying cable customer had departed weeks ago... I say row, because it was ill-advised to cross the paved street with your bootleg connection.

        As fast as the cable company would uncover illegal splices

  • by penguinoid ( 724646 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @07:59PM (#51370137) Homepage Journal

    This will provide some healthy competition to a market where there's usually only one or two companies providing internet and who own an officially sanctioned monopoly in the area.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It will provide competition until these guys are regulated out of existence. Never underestimate the power of a bag full of money dropped in front of politicians.

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @08:31PM (#51370355) Journal

        Indeed. A lot of regulation out there is NOT socialists per se trying to control things, but rather crony capitalism whereby fat cats (legally) bribe laws into place to keep small cats out of the market.

        Socialists then get all the blame.

        I'm happy someone is trying to stick it to a big telecom. Big telecoms have turned me grayer than Bernie Sanders over the years. They can die an ugly painful death along with Microsoft, Oracle, and SCO. I wish this new endeavor luck and success.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Really? Far more often I see "lasseiz-faire" or the free market blamed for crony capitalism, not socialists.

          • by asylumx ( 881307 )
            He means socialists get the blame for the bad regulation, not for the crony capitalism itself. The distinction doesn't really matter though, it's just a distraction to keep most of us arguing with each other about capitalists vs. socialists while a few individuals keep making their billions off of us.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          A lot of die-hard right wingers want to stick it to big telecom, too. The problem with regulations is that socialists in a capitalist society can and will use these regulations to destroy companies they don't like (which is pretty much all of them). So it makes it hard to tell the difference.

          Socialism is worse than crony capitalism because crony capitalists only do evil things that they can make money from. Socialists will do any evil, and money is no object. In fact, they'll happily run their own natio

          • Yep, socialism is the worst... we really need to get rid of that social security and medicare socialist BS.

            Also, public roads and parks are a socialist agenda, stealing land from people and redistributing it to the public...

            Let corporations make the rules, they have our best interests at heart.

          • Socialism is worse than crony capitalism because crony capitalists only do evil things that they can make money from.

            Such as slavery, polluting the environment, building a dangerous factories in the middle of a city, locking your employees inside so they'll perish in a fire...

            Also, I really don't see why you assume a capitalist - crony or otherwise - wouldn't be just as hungry for power in all its non-financial forms as everyone else.

            Socialists will do any evil, and money is no object. In fact, they'll hap

        • by catprog ( 849688 )

          The problem is without regulation, the small cats will not have a chance either.

          Fat cat company will heavily discount in the area where small cat is, small cat goes bankrupt. Fat cat buys the assets cheaply.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I find it amusingly ironic that the US, with its supposed "free enterprise" ethos typically ends up with a monopoly or near-monopoly in internet provision, where we in the UK, with a regulated telecomms market with a single near-monopoly carrier have a thriving market. Because we had a single carrier at one time, they are obliged to resell wholesale bandwidth to any qualifying operator - so, even out in the sticks I can choose from upwards of 40 providers, all of which rely on BT's infrastructure, and I do

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Monopolies are a natural result of unregulated capitalism. For capitalism to work, a regulated market is required. Adam Smith, which it touted by lots of people who apparently think that monopolies are ok and are lobbying for less regulation, mentioned that monopolies would appear in unregulated markets and warned that this should not happen.

        People who quote Adam Smith and at the same time think it's fine to stifle competition very conveniently forget the other bits that Adam Smith mentioned about regulatin

      • The call centers seem generally ok if you know (or sound like you know) what the issue is and have checked the master socket for any signal. When I first got one of their routers, none of the ethernet ports were working properly. I called up and they started trying to go through the step-by-step pc test and I said that I'd tested it with different devices on different operating systems and they said OK and agreed to skip that and just send out a new router.
    • There is no monopoly. There are already 28 ISPs in Brooklyn New York: []

      • by bhny ( 97647 )

        In NYC apartments you usually have one choice and that is mostly Time Warner cable. Some people also have Verizon FIOS. Most of those ISPs in that list are for businesses.

    • by aliquis ( 678370 )

      From my apartment I can pick:
      1) Any cellular phone service.
      2) DSL - various companies.
      3) 50-1000 mbps by the cable TV network.
      4) Connect through the first Ethernet network we got in the area back in year 2000 which I don't know what speeds they sell because for whatever reason I can't connect to their webpage right now (even though I still use them.)
      5) Connect through the municipal network which has 13 different providers which offer Internet at a speed from 10 - 500 mbps.

      I don't know how many options that

  • TWC will try (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Varenthos ( 4164987 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @08:32PM (#51370357)
    I guarantee that TWC will do anything and everything in their power to stop this, slow down the implementation process, or just make their lives as difficult as possible. Right on down to standing on the steps of city hall holding their breath.

    Don't get me wrong, I'm all for what these people are doing. I just can't see TWC letting this go without a fight, or at least a temper tantrum.
  • by Badooleoo ( 3045733 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @08:42PM (#51370425) Homepage

    Air-Stream in South Australia have been doing this successfully for a long time and is one of the largest wireless community networks in the world. []

    Also WACAN in Western Australia is doing well. []

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Freifunk is doing quite well too:

  • by DaMattster ( 977781 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @09:10PM (#51370545)
    I'm looking forward to NYC mesh eating into their bottom line!!! :-)
  • Packet Ham Radio (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DesertNomad ( 885798 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @10:02PM (#51370827)

    As much as I admire these folks, it's gonna be a network with limited throughput but potentially high resiliency except where it interfaces with the rest of the 'net. I've done many tens-of-kilometer shots, many home-brewed networks, using things like DD-WRT, Open-WRT, Tomato, etc., and it's great fun but it's something that requires regular heavy lifting, maintenance, investment, and quickly one realizes just how hard it is to not only keep running but to expand and grow. Go for it!

    • by havana9 ( 101033 )
      Back in the nineies Amateur Packet Radio Network was doing something similar, sometimes with ethernet-speed links. Unfortunately having to build the logic with LSI circuits and PCBS made the radiomodem big and costly, but the system worked well. Using modified wi-fi radio with ASICS is more cost effective.
  • by AHuxley ( 892839 ) on Monday January 25, 2016 @11:17PM (#51371133) Journal
    Slashdot readers may recall the:
    How a Group of Rural Washington Neighbors Created Their Own Internet Service (November 01, 2015) []
    How a group of neighbors created their own Internet service (Nov 1, 2015) []

    The "But all of the nodes are eventually routed through a .. " to get to the many "internet exchange" or "carrier-neutral interconnection facility” options is the real question.
    What can an existing network cartel do about such competition in their captive cities and states? Some car sale related ideas might be useful?
    For security each connection has to be paid for, listed and have an ip range that can be logged.
    Ensure every connection in the US to a consumer is a final hop directly to a federally listed provider by law?
    Make sure the list of allowed brands that can sell to the US consumer is complex, regulated and very expensive to join.
    A system of internet medallions per city, state that show users can be tracked. Only a select few traditional providers brands could have long term secure staffing for all direct contact with end users to legally supply the internet.

    Invoke a law to alter free bandwidth use to ensure the final internet connection can only be for use by the user paying for their own network.
    Users can connect to each other in a community network but any internet sharing is not legal. No direct selling down to groups of end users.
    Track and chat down each home connecting and then find the new "direct" provider. Users will then have to reconnect to the more traditional providers.
  • by SNRatio ( 4430571 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @12:54AM (#51371609)

    We the Church of God's Light feel our message should be spread and shared. God's light cannot be spread by sound or by electrons. This is God's Light: it must be sent by photons. Google fiber is perfect for spreading God's Light, but many areas are sadly deficient. Members may also string their own fiber optic networks on their local telephone poles to stay in good standing. If your municipality, HOA, or zoning board objects: please explain they will have to ban Jewish eruvs as well and how much luck they will have with that. []

    Sermons are from 6:00:00 PM EST to 6:00:30 on the summer solstice. Members are warmly encouraged to spread light on their networks at other times and for other purposes. It is all God's Light.

    Can I get an Amen?

  • Cover up..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @12:56AM (#51371613)

    ....incoming Time-Warner lawsuit in 3...2...1...

    Oh I can't wait to hear how Time-Warner will claim that this "stifles their business" or that it's an "unfair competitor" or or "will promote child porn" some other such silly horseshit. Whatever it is you can bet the Time-Warner lawyers are working overtime thinking up ways to shut it down. Mark my fuckin' words.

  • by Krishnoid ( 984597 ) on Tuesday January 26, 2016 @01:08AM (#51371655) Journal

    Doesn't Verizon have FIOS and/or wireless networking through converted phone booths? I didn't know Time-Warner had such a firm grip on New York's high-speed Internet access market.

  • I live in NYC. Time Warner Sucks - I've never used them. Over the years I've used DSL, RCN Cable, and FIOS. I welcome new competitors to a thriving marketplace.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.