Last Wednesday, we led a presentation with the leaders of BEDCO to announce the rollout of community Wi-Fi in Braddock. It was a decent turnout – especially since a certain local Mayor was holding a rally nearby for his Senate race! We here at Meta Mesh wish Mayor Fetterman all the best!
The meeting kicked off with Randy Monroe explaining how BEDCO obtained a grant from Google to set up Braddock’s own community wireless network (CWN for short) with the help of the good folks at Meta Mesh. The grant is written specifically for twenty nodes to be installed along Braddock Avenue, as seen on the map below. The current node host volunteers are also shown, including The Brew Gentlemen, Braddock Volunteer Fire Department # 2, The Free Store, and the Nyia Page Braddock Community Center. This map can also be accessed through Google Maps at the following link, and will be updated as more node hosts are added to the project!
(You can also click on the picture below to take you to the interactive Google Map!)
Then our fearless leader Adam took over the meeting. He went through the benefits of mesh networking (resilient, providing internet to those who otherwise might not have it, local business boon, etc.) as well as a simple explanation of how mesh networking works using fun props!
The Braddock CWN will be for the community, by the community. Meta Mesh plans to hold instructional courses with BEDCO on how to install and maintain a node, but as with all of PittMesh equipment, we don’t own any of it. We explained at the meeting that we don’t want this to turn into a situation where we set up a network and then participation (and subsequently the Wi-Fi connection) dies like in some OTHER neighborhoods. Not naming any, of course. But one example MIGHT rhyme with Shmadysnide. It is important that the community members take an active interest in maintaining the network. After all, a CWN is what the neighborhood makes of it – they can either simply use it to extend free public Wi-Fi, or use it to create community message boards, set up emergency broadcasts, and much more.
We were impressed by the participation and questions that Braddock had for us. Not only did we get a lot of signups for installations and classes, but many parents wanted their children to participate to get some tech experience! We are excited to get started with the Braddock installation! If you live in Braddock and want to help with the rollout, contact us today!