Information Renaissance is making it possible for
community groups and businesses in Pittsburgh to obtain
affordable, high-speed connections to the Internet.
Neighborhoods project is deploying a wireless network, placing
antennas on rooftops and communications towers.
After a successful trial involving five sites connected
to an antenna on the WQED broadcast tower, the network
is now being expanded city-wide.
The administrative structure chosen for the
Wireless Neighborhoods project is that of a coooperative,
a 501(c)(12) organization under the U.S. tax code. The
cooperative invites community service organizations and
commercial enterprises to join as members. Members can
share resources locally over a wireless Wide Area
Network and use a common Internet connection.
This saves money, encourages collaboration and provides
unexcelled network service.
The passage of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 promised a new
era for competition in the provision of telecommunications services.
In the dominant areas of telephone and cable TV this hasn't happened.
Incumbents have used their monopoly power to suppress new entrants,
and - after a brief surge - consumers are now seeing a reduction in
their alternatives for Internet access.
Information Renaissance believes that this situation is likely
to create a new "Digital Divide:" Internet content providers are
shifting many of their services to utilize the capabilities of
broadband, but low-income communities will lack affordable access.
Wireless technologies allow user communities to overcome
the stranglehold that incumbent service providers have in
many communities, since the wireless infrastructure can be
deployed quickly and without excessive dependence on the
leasing of existing telecommunications capacity.
Info Ren's role
Information Renaissance has supported this
project with network design, selection of equipment,
setup, operation and monitoring of the network, and construction
of an interactive Web site. Info Ren
also drew up the Cooperative's business plan and has
advised the Cooperative on its formal incorporation. For
more information visit the