Monday, June 28, 2010

From ISTE 2010: EagleNet

Just had a great conversation with Denise Atkinson-Shorey about national broadband. She's from the EagleNet project and they are working on a stimulus grant proposal to bring broadband wi-fi to every school kid in the state of Colorado. EagleNet is a non-profit consortium and wants to work to bring in the infrastructure to help schools, libraries, and public buildings become hubs for wi-fi.

As Scott McLeod piped in: "Broadband wi-fi should be pushed out like water or electricity." And that's absolutely true -- and it seems like it's doable. We dig trenches to build roads and interstates, we've go miles and miles of electricity and telecom already crisscrossing the states. So, how do we (or do we?) latch onto existing infrastructures and make use of public buildings and already-present community resources. Would love to hear from some of you broadband/wi-fi gurus out there, I'm a bit out of my element on the technical side.

Here's part of EagleNet's mission statement:

The mission of EAGLE-Net is to enable access for technology-rich, quality education to every student in all 178 Colorado public school districts via broadband network services, advanced applications, and Internet2 and National LambdaRail connectivity, including those in rural and underserved areas.
This mission is being expanded to include collaborative partnerships with Higher Education, Public Libraries, Museums, Fire/Safety, Healthcare, and other non-profit entities.
Collaborate to link and link to collaborate. It's a great idea... does it have legs?


  1. This is great. But i would also like to see a similar initiative to the one we used to bring electricity to rural areas after the great depression: cooperatives. Mesh nodes provide the opportunity to connect households connection by connection, which would create public wifi throughout an entire neighborhood. As long as we can establish a connection to an isp that allows for connection sharing (I.e. Doesnt make it illegal to share your connection across households) we can distribute the costs of of the link over the users, which would bring down costs enough so folks in the neighborhood i teach could afford full broadband at home.

    The problem i keep hearing from broadband access folks (who speak about programs like erate) is that there is too much risk in providing access AT HOME. This is a shame, because neighborhood access, whether at park or at home, is what my kids need the most.

    This is why a cooperative would avoid this risk, because the risk is distributed over users, not concentrated in an organization, public institution, or school.

    Here is a group in St. Louis that is building a mesh network in south city St. Louis, i've worked with them in the and will more this summer.

  2. this is huge guys. digital equity.
    why should some get to connect to something so empowering and others not.

    we got men to the moon. why would we want less for out kids.

    come on smart people.. we can do this. this is work that matters.


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