File Transfer Startup Begins Mesh Network Experiment in Venice, California


This tech startup is starting its own net neutral, independent internet

WeTransfer, a file transfer startup based in the Venice neighborhood in Los Angeles, is partnering with a local outfit called the Community Broadband Project to create a “fixed wireless network” — series of wireless routers and antennas that allow customers to get online without going through a big, traditional ISP.

In practice, it looks similar to a decentralized mesh network, which is created when households install routers — known as “nodes” — that then connect to local antennas, creating a distinct local network. But customers won’t own or have to manage any of the equipment.

…..WeTransfer’s is helping to fund the project in addition to housing an antenna, while the Community Broadband Project will supply the labor needed physically manage the other nodes and antennas. Right now, the network is still in beta testing, meaning that only a 15-20 households near WeTransfer’s headquarters in Venice can sign up. But those who are eligible will get free internet until the beta period is over in three months. Then, the Community Broadband Project will set prices, which they hope will be cheaper than a regular broadband connection.

While WeTransfer is putting money into the network, Bradfield said the company won’t profit from it.

This initial rollout only covers a small portion of Venice, but Bradfield said they will be looking to expand if there is enough interest.


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