Pittsburgh startup to 'democratize' broadband with free wireless Internet

Meta Mesh, a Pittsburgh startup, is hoping to bring free wireless broadband service to neighborhoods through its PittMesh network, which lets anyone join the network using consumer-grade, off-the-shelf Wi-Fi hardware.

The Wi-Fi access is provided by residents and businesses in a neighborhood that volunteer to host the necessary equipment. With enough hotspot nodes, PittMesh can set up a mesh router to expand the reach of the network and allow users to connect at speeds ranging from 10 Mbps to 100 Mbps.

In an interview with the Pittsburgh Business Times, PittMesh founder Adam Longwill said that the goal of the program is to democratize broadband access and provide an incentive for business development in economically depressed neighborhoods in the city. The company as so far installed networks in Allentown, Uptown and South Side.

The company is trying to get a grant from Google and is working with the Braddock Community Development Corp. so it can install 20 PittMesh nodes in the Braddock business district by the end of the summer. It's also working with Morningside Area Community Council to also get grant funding to do the same type of project in that area.

 For more:
- see this Pittsburgh Business Times article

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