nonprofits,local leaders & Grt.New Haven business sharing information
New Haven WiFi is an initiative to bring a free publicly-funded wifi network to all of New Haven. We will begin by constructing a smaller-scale demonstration network in a neighborhood in New Haven to be determined.
In less than half a century following its invention, the internet has become the worldʼs university, the worldʼs library, and the worldʼs public square. The substrate of our community, culture, and commerce, it has the power to connect us in ways we are just beginning to imagine. It is the postal service, telephone, public broadcast, and interstate highway system of our time: a known public good to which everyone should be connected, and for which the barrier to participation should be minimal.
This working group is committed to constructing a city-wide public WiFi network to provide free, unmetered internet access to everyone in New Haven, and which requires only low cost, readily available standards-based hardware to use.
As a wholly-community supported endeavor it will be the first of its kind. It will serve as inspiration and practical guide for other municipalities to follow as the cost of wireless hardware continues to fall. Most importantly, it will exemplify the societal benefit of universal internet access, and establish that community supported networks are an appropriate model to achieve it.
• User-level hardware isnʼt the primary barrier to access. Laptops now retail for less than $300, and some local organizations such as CompHaven provide free computers. Used computers are routinely made available on GiftFlow.com.
• Internet connection bandwidth is not a significant cost in providing internet access (e.g., Googleʼs public wifi network in Mountain View, CA has an all-time peak throughput was 70 Mb/s).
• The cost of mesh-wireless networking is about to fall dramatically. Proprietary embedded software accounts for as much as 90% of the cost of the necessary hardware, and is being replaced by free open source software under development (e.g., open802.11(s)).
• Googleʼs Mountain View network operates with just 3 wired connections to the internet (small base stations affixed to tall buildings), and covers the rest of the city in a mesh of wireless nodes attached to lamp posts.
• Total New Haven project cost could be less than $1 million with a 5 year useful life given appropriate partnerships. ($1.50 per resident, per year).