Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Philadelphia Getting Free Wireless?

My Facebook Shout Out

Even though Philadelphia has been the site of a lot of "phirsts" (yes, I know that's not how it's spelled, it's just a thing we do in Philly)we are not often thought of as the tech forward place we actually are.

So I was a little surprised by a shout out on Facebook that caused me to look at BambooWifi, a company that is trying to create mesh networking along our Third Street tech corridor in Northern Liberties. You may not be familiar with what mesh networking is, but simply put, it is a series of access points (or transmitters) that relay the network from point to point, allowing a low cost way to establish a truly wireless network. You can read more about how it works here.

What interested me most was the idea that Bamboo was offering this free to consumers in exchange for a small slice of their attention. If you watch a short (20-30 second) commercial, you get an hour of WiFi free. Right out in the open. Without logging on or off someone else's network. Without running up your cellular bill. Seems like a pretty good trade in a world where you trade 20 minutes of commercials for every hour of television programming you get for "free" from the networks.

I just spent a couple days on a cruise and didn't have internet access for 2 whole days. It was truly traumatic. We have become reliant on internet access, and like street lights, there is no reason for us to fumble in the dark because we don't have a viable cost effective solution. I hope the guys at Bamboo Wifi hit this one out of the park, but if they don't, they will have at least paved the way to  a more accessible future