Cringely is profiling the open source lifestyle of Canadian Andrew Greig, who uses Linux everywhere in his house, and has figured out a way to live with all sorts of other open source products such as MythTV PVR and other cool hacks. I almost envy him for having left behind the trappings of a truly capitalistic world.
Andrew Greig put a WiFi access point in his house so he could share his broadband Internet connection. But like hardly any of us, Andrew uses his WiFi network for Internet, television, and telephone. He cancelled his telephone line and cable TV service. Then his neighbors dropped-by, saw what Andrew had done, and they cancelled their telephone and cable TV services, too, many of them without having a wired broadband connection of their own. They get their service from Andrew, who added an inline amplifier and put a better antenna in his attic. Now most of Andrew’s neighborhood is watching digital TV with full PVR capability, making unmetered VoIP telephone calls, and downloading data at prodigious rates thanks to shared bandwidth. Is this the future of home communications and entertainment? It could be, five years from now, if Andrew Greig has anything to say about it.
Starnix, the company Greig works for is about to go on the road and try and sell this package to others.
Remember how in the go-go Internet days of three to four years ago, we used to talk about “disintermediation?” That was using technology to remove middle men from transactions. Well, what Andrew Greig is doing is dis-intermediating both the telephone and TV cable companies. And he’d like to dis-intermediate the Internet Service Providers, too. Starnix is getting ready to take its technology on the road, so to speak, selling and licensing it to all comers. One plan is to create a wireless ISP offering these services, growing it around what Andrew calls “wireless sweet spots.”