In early 2008, a group of Ypsilanti residents and downtown Ypsilanti businesses began pooling wireless internet signals in order to blanket downtown Ypsi. Where the official Wireless Washtenaw effort would attempt to implement a single-provider system over the entire County, the Wireless Ypsi effort is using a system called Meraki to piggyback the public access on top of a large number of private internet access points.
Wireless Ypsi's website describes it as "a community collective dedicated to bringing free broadband internet access to Ypsilanti," and states a mission of both "bridging the digital divide" to help lower-income families access the internet and also serving as a tool for attracting "creative class" young professionals and businesses to Ypsilanti.
As of early January 2009, Wireless Ypsi was approaching 12,500 users and 160 access points. Scroll down to the bottom of this page for (a few of) the businesses and locations providing Wireless Ypsi access.
Wireless Ypsi in Ann Arbor
Hey kids! Wireless Ypsi is now happening in Ann Arbor. Here's a map of the network. If you're in this area and would like to participate, BrianKerr has a stash of radios and can help you get set up -- please ask. Radios are currently $50 for indoor type, which is a pretty sweet deal.
The history of Wireless Ypsi:
- PART ONE: http://wireless.ypsi.com/blog/?p=52
- PART TWO: http://wireless.ypsi.com/blog/?p=53
- PART THREE: http://wireless.ypsi.com/blog/?p=54
- Wireless Ypsi case study at Meraki: http://meraki.com/solutions/cs/ypsilanti/