Cool idea: Communal broadband

It's communal broadband, man.

It's communal broadband, man.

A Boston company wants to offer people free access to a communal broadband network if a user pays for about $300 in equipment, according to an interesting summary over at Stop the Cap. The site profiled NetBlazr, which hopes to deliver free broadband with speeds of up to 60 Mbps to companies that will share that access with others in range while turning over management of the gear to NetBlazr. From the post:

NetBlazr starts with gigabit fiber from Cogent Communications, and then delivers free or low-cost access to any customer willing to do two things:

Spend $299 for the basic installation kit, which includes a high-speed router, three antennas, and some cabling;
Use the included equipment to receive service from NetBlazr and agree to share it with anyone in range of the wireless antennas included in the kit.
Reception of the wireless broadband signal, comparable to Business Class DSL, comes with no ongoing fees. If you want dedicated, guaranteed speeds, NetBlazr will sell them to you at an added cost. The more customers exchanging signals, the more robust and faster the network becomes, says NetBlazr CEO Jim Hanley.

This is a pretty cool idea (seriously go to Stop the Cap and watch the video), although it doesn’t look like it would help with the rural broadband problem. What’s cooler is Hanley’s idea that services like this could commoditize broadband. Has he talked to Google yet?

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