While the NSW government has been talking about offering city-wide Wi-Fi for a while, one grassroots group stopped waiting and started to make it happen themselves. The Sydney Free Wireless group was written up in the SMH today. They've started setting up a free Wi-Fi network using Meraki mesh networking technology.
The group is hoping to encourage residents and shops to set up their own Meraki to extend the network across Sydney. The Meraki Minis cost $US49, and need to be ordered from the US. The group has been organising group purchases to minimise shipping costs.
There's a similar group in Canberra too.
After the jump, find out how you can get involved.
From the Sydney Free Wireless website:
"You too can help SydneyFreeNet grow by putting a Meraki Mini in your front window, balcony or rooftop.
If you have a broadband Internet connection, you can share (part of) your bandwidth, by having your Meraki set up as a internet gateway. If you don’t have a broadband Internet connection, you can still help out by extending the network if you can see the SydneyFreeNet wireless network signal, by setting up your Meraki as a repeater.
If you already provide free wireless Internet (that’s great!), you are welcome to join SydneyFreeNet by adding Meraki Minis to your existing access point(s). By combining our efforts, you’ll become part of a larger wireless network, improve the quality of service for your visitors and be helping to build a unified and robust wireless network."
Awesome idea, I'll be looking into this. Yes, the fact that we don't have unlimited broadband in Oz is a consideration, but the group's reported so far that they haven't been plagued by download leeches - and you can ban leeches if needed.