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Jun 20

A Wireless Ypsilanti

Comments (0) 12:00 AM posted by admin |

In the kindler, gentler world of the City of Ypsilanti’s web page, the City Council meeting agendas are posted often and early allowing ample time anyone who would like to attend to make the appropriate arrangements. Of interest for tomorrow’s meeting is a presentation by James McFarland of the Washtenaw IT Department on the Wireless Washtenaw project.

I’m still a little suspicious of their project not only because they plan to charge people for the service, but because they are banking on WiMAX technology being available in a cost-effective manner in the near future. I’m not saying theirs is not a feasible plan. I’m just saying that relying on a technology that is not yet for sale will delay the implementation of a wireless Washtenaw County (they have been throwing the year 2007 around a lot). The biggedt benefit of WiMAX is that its signal has a range of 30 miles, making the true intent of their project to bring high-speed internet access to areas of the county that do not have the option today. I would argue they should have a two-pronged plan, the first of which should bring free, high-speed access to the cities.

As they offer no such plan, I bring you the EastCrossFreeNET. I’ll get around to writing an appropriate mission statement, but I figured my first step in making this a reality was a cool sounding name. My second order of business is to climb up on my roof and mount an antenna. I have a very steep roof and I do not have gutters back up since the house was painted, so if I were to try and install the antenna and fall, there would be nothing for me grab onto before hurtling to the ground. At the moment, my personal safety trumps your desire for free broadband.

I have always thought that a wireless Ypsilanti idea would be a great use for some of the Cool Cities money the Riverside Arts Center came into last year. While a thriving arts community is definitely important to attracting people to the community, I’ve always thought that making a City stand out would be a better way of changing one’s reputation. I’m sorry I missed the first of three Ypsilanti DDA sponsored sessions soliciting community input, but I fell asleep. Coming up with big-picture ideas can be tiring at times. I have two more opportunities to offer advice. I’m sure I’ll be more well rested in the coming days.

The Wireless Washtenaw initiative and mine are very similar. A wireless community should help attract businesses and support economic development. It should bring high-speed internet access to groups that do not have access to it or cannot afford it. And it should be a stepping stone in my plan to take over the world. Okay. That last bit may not be part of a Wireless Washtenaw’s mission statement, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea.

I suppose this is where I should make my plea for anyone who is handy with the networking stuff and might be interested in offering their assistance with this project — pro bono of course. Also if there is anyone out there who might be willing to climb on my roof, you should email me too.

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