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.
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.
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.
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 and tell us what you think. You can see the full list of signatories or sign it yourself.