[hackmeeting] Wireless Commons Manifesto

Antonio Pardo apardo en sindominio.net
Vie Nov 21 12:23:53 CET 2003

      Waste Omnipresent Metropolitan Area Network (WOMAN)

We have formed the Wireless Commons because a global wireless network is 
within our grasp. We will work to define and achieve a wireless commons 
built using open spectrum, and able to connect people everywhere. We 
believe there is value to an independent and global network which is 
open to the public. We will break down commercial, technical, social and 
political barriers to the commons. The wireless commons bridges one of 
the few remaining gaps in universal communication without interference 
from middlemen and meddlers.

Humanity is on the verge of a turning point because the Internet has 
transformed the way humans relate with one another. All communication 
can be traced to a human relationship, whether it's lovers exchanging 
instant messages or teenagers sharing music. The Internet has given us 
the ability to communicate faster and more cheaply than ever before in 

The Internet's value increases exponentially with the number of people 
who are able to participate. In today's world, communication can take 
place without the use of antiquated telecommunications networks. The 
organizations that control these networks are limping anachronisms that 
are constrained by the expense and physical necessity of using wires to 
build their networks. Because of this, they cannot serve the great mass 
of people who stand to benefit from a wireless commons. Their interests 
diverge from ours, and their control over the network strangles our 
ability to communicate.

Low-cost wireless networking equipment which can operate in unlicensed 
bands of the spectrum has started another revolution. Suddenly, ordinary 
people have the means to create a network independent of any physical 
constraint except distance. Wireless can travel through walls, across 
property boundaries and through a community. Many communities have 
formed worldwide to help organize these networks. They are forming the 
basis for the removal of the traditional telecommunication networks as 
an intermediary in human communication.

The challenge facing community networks is the one limiting factor of 
wireless communication: distance. The relationships that can be formed 
across a community wireless network are limited by their physical reach. 
Typically these networks are growing to the size of a city, and growth 
beyond that point requires coordination and a strategic vision for 
community wireless networks as a whole. Without this coordination, it is 
hard to see how the worldwide community of wireless networking groups 
will ever merge their systems and create a true alternative to existing 
telecommunication networks.

There are many barriers to the creation of a global network. So far, the 
focus has been on identifying the technical barriers and developing 
methods to overcome them. But technical problems are the least of our 
worries, the business, political and social issues are the real 
challenges facing community networks. Hardware and software vendors need 
to understand the business rationale for implementing our technical 
solutions. Politicians need to understand our requirements for universal 
access to open spectrum. The public needs to understand that the network 
exists and how to get access. Unless these problems are identified and 
addressed, the community wireless movement will never have influence 
beyond a local level.

Most importantly, the network needs to be accessible to all and 
provisioned by everyone who can provide. By adding enough providers to 
the network, we can bridge the physical gaps imposed by the range of our 
equipment. The network is a finite resource which is owned and used by 
the public, and as such it needs to be nurtured by the public. This, by 
its very nature, is a commons.

Becoming a part of the commons means being more than a consumer. By 
signing your name below, you become an active participant in a network 
that is far more than the sum of its users. You will strive to solve the 
social, political and technical challenges we face. You will provide the 
resources your community consumes by co-operating with total strangers 
to build the network that we all dream of.

Please take a moment and read the community wireless definition(1) and 
tell us what you think. You can see the full list of signatories(2) or 
sign it(3) yourself.




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