“Mesh” may provide low-cost Internet connection

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copyright the Chronicle February 15, 2017


by Joseph Gresser


NEWPORT — Diane Peel said she has met many parents whose children are expected to do their homework online, but who can’t afford to pay for an Internet connection. For these and those in similar circumstances she and a group of collaborators are starting a low-cost alternative to Comcast and FairPoint they are calling Newport Wireless Mesh.

The group started to test the idea around two years ago after a member came back from a trip to Washington, D.C., and told friends about a project put together by the Open Technology Institute.

That organization set up the Commotion Project to write programs that allowed computer routers to communicate with each other and not just with an Internet provider.

The Commotion Project equipment allowed the creation of a network, or a mesh, through which users can get access to the Internet by connecting to fellow members of the network.

For Ms. Peel and fellow members of NEK 99%, a group of activists who collaborate on projects, including the 99 Gallery on School Street, the technology offered a chance to build a communications system and a stronger community.

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