[Cialug] ICN/Community Wireless

Jeffrey C. Ollie jeff at ocjtech.us
Sat Oct 13 23:33:56 CDT 2007

I've been reading the "wireless communities in Iowa" thread and I think
that there's some misunderstandings and confusions going on here.  First
off, there seems to be confusion about accessing the ICN.  While I don't
work for the ICN and IANAL, I've actually dealt with the ICN (I'm the
network administrator for DMACC, which is a large user of the ICN's

Way back when the ICN was founded, the state legislature created this
list.  The people on this list are called "authorized users" and only
authorized users are allowed to receive services from the ICN.  Since
the state legislature created the list of authorized users, only the
state legislature is allowed to change the list.  That makes it reeally
difficult to change who's on the list.  I can virtually guarantee that
the ICN will never be allowed to deliver services directly to private
individuals or businesses.

The engineers that run the ICN aren't stupid.  You aren't going to
"trick" them into letting the general public access one of their
wireless links.  AFAIK, the ICN doesn't do a whole lot with wireless in
the first place.  Mostly they deploy point-to-point wireless links when
it's infeasible to deploy fiber optics.  The one ICN wireless link that
I've dealt with was a point-to-point link between Des Moines Schools'
Central Campus and the Pappajohn building downtown.  The only reason
that a wireless link was deployed was because they couldn't lay any
fiber because of construction on the MLK parkway extension.  Once the
construction on MLK was done the wireless link was replaced with fiber.
I've talked with people from the ICN about other things that they do
with wireless, but I doubt that they'd let the general public access
those wireless connections either.

Next, I'd have to be three sheets to the wind before I'd let the general
public directly access *my* link to the ICN.  I think you'd have to do
even more to get a the network administrator at a hospital to let you
directly access their Internet link.  HIPAA anyone?  DMACC offers all
sorts of public wireless access on our campuses, but you're gonna go
through the proper channels so that I can apply firewall and QoS

As far a Qwest is concerned, check the terms of service that you agreed
to when you signed up for residential DSL.  You probably agreed not to
resell Internet service to anyone.  You'll need to spend more money on a
connection to get a ToS that doesn't prohibit you from reselling
Internet services.

As for cities that are friendlier to free wireless Internet - I know
that both Des Moines and West Des Moines are in various stages of
offering free or low cost wireless Internet services in various parts of
each city.  I really don't have enough information to judge the
situation in Charles City objectively though.


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