This idea isn’t confined to just a group of enterprising Brooklyn activists and smattering of tech geeks. Mesh networks are popping up in underserved corners of American cities, including Detroit, where Allied Media Projects has worked with locals to install a few networks. Detroit runs a digital stewards program similar to Red Hook’s.
The potential is great and the risk low. It is essentially a small, community network. The benefits cannot be overstated, especially when the library might be the only place with free Internet access. “The people who live here need access to the Internet in order to apply for jobs or follow up on educational opportunities or any number of things that many people take for granted,” Greta Byrum, a senior field analyst at the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Institute, said. “So they see mesh networks as a way to get access for folks in the neighborhoods.”