[Cialug] wireless communities in Iowa?

Tom Poe tompoe at fngi.net
Sat Oct 13 10:11:36 CDT 2007

Tom Pohl wrote:
> - - - snip - - -
> I thought it was a matter of Iowa law that states who and how people 
> can access the ICN's resources.  If you were to provide community 
> access using an ICN connection to the general community, I think you'd 
> be breaking state law and the ICN would probably risk losing their 
> common carrier status, but I don't really know anything :)
> This link provides at least an interesting read:
> http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/cgi-bin/getcase.pl?court=DC&navby=case&no=991149A 
> -Tom
Tom:  You raise a good point.  Let's imagine a community that has a 
Meraki unit in every house.  Some of the houses have kids in school, and 
they'll want access to the ICN from their homes.  The Meraki units can 
"see" one of the ICN antennas at one of the schools.  Those houses that 
don't have kids in school can also "see" one of the ICN antennas at one 
of the schools, but they aren't authorized to connect.  Let's also 
imagine that some of the houses want to run a cable from their Meraki 
unit to their personal DSL connection, and create a wireless cloud in 
their homes and out into the street, and out across their backyard.  If 
the collective cloud is sufficient, there will be some houses that do 
not have DSL connections, but still could share the Internet access 
created by those who do have DSL connections.  The homeowners/renters 
could coordinate a shared cost plan that lowers their monthly costs 
overall.  We now have one wireless mesh network infrastructure provided 
by Meraki units, with multiple subnetworks for dedicated purposes.  
Finally, if every house has a Meraki unit in place, the city agencies, 
energy companies, etc., would be able to utilize the wireless mesh 
network infrastructure to set up their separate subnetworks. 

OK.  So, back to your point about accessing the ICN's network.  The ICN 
is charged with providing school districts with access to the ICN as 
indicated by law.  They put fiber optic cables to the community school, 
and if the community has more than one school, they put up antennas to 
connect the schools.  What the ICN doesn't do, is place those antennas 
to cover the community, and enable a "last mile solution" to be 
implemented by the community.  This begs the question, why not?  Why not 
make it possible for all kids to be able to access the ICN 24x7, and put 
the communities in a position to address how they want to provide 
computers and today's/tomorrow's technology tools to their kids, so that 
their kids will enjoy a true 21st century education?

What's interesting about the ICN and state law, is, the ICN can indeed 
increase revenues by permitting additional community-based initiatives 
to participate.  For example, today, the ICN carries public television 
across its network.  In our community, we have a public access channel, 
but the studio is located in the local high school, and consequently, 
inaccessible by the general public.  Why not realize that in February, 
2009, everything goes digital, so public access will begin to flow from 
multiple studios around the community, and communities can use the 
wireless mesh network to participate in statewide public television and 
radio programs.  In fact, the Iowa  City Public Access TV folks have 
applied for government funding to provide outreach activities around 
Iowa, and will be using the ICN to further those activities.   :)

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