Mesh networking to build local community networks is being experimented with in many places. Here is the example of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Quoting from the article…
While paying for services to correspond with others over long distances might make sense, modern technology gives us better and more affordable options for communicating with those close to us. If you have wireless networking equipment in your home that is capable of communicating with your neighbor’s equipment, why not just communicate directly with them?
PittMesh is a new community-owned wireless network that runs OpenWrt, a widely supported, well documented, open source firmware for embedded systems like WiFi routers. PittMesh routers are owned by individuals and configured in a way that make them work together to build a larger, decentralized network. The project was started by a wireless networking non-profit called Meta Mesh and has been developed by a world-wide coalition of programmers for well over a decade.
The PittMesh network uses a simple network routing protocol called Optimized Link-State Routing (OLSR). This protocol automatically senses other OLSR-enabled routers wirelessly and publishes routes to non-adjacent subnets on the network, which allows the routers themselves to act as the infrastructure needed to connect neighbors to one another. It also delivers Internet access from bandwidth donors.
PittMesh currently has 29 nodes hoisted.
There are 10 nodes planned for deployment.
There are 5 point-to-point links active.
Live connectivity data coming soon…
Find more about it in the full article here.