[gaia] Basic Free Internet Access

Arjuna Sathiaseelan <arjuna.sathiaseelan@cl.cam.ac.uk> Sat, 05 December 2015 09:01 UTC

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From: Arjuna Sathiaseelan <arjuna.sathiaseelan@cl.cam.ac.uk>
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Subject: [gaia] Basic Free Internet Access
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All -

With all the disasters thats been happening these days -- including the
recent one at Chennai -- people are trying to get connected to the
Internet. We are now talking to groups in Chennai to put up an adhoc mesh
to get some connectivity etc - Power is a major problem. But those with the
power are now trying to open up their own WiFi for others to share..But the
biggest issue is we are all doing this after the disaster strikes and not

This makes me think, shouldnt governments create some sort of an emergency
network for such events for people to communicate? So like FON, if
governments can work with operators and use the existing home access points
to open up during emergencies - so that people can access for FREE in
proper isolation without interfering with the sharer - wouldnt this be
useful? Ofcourse if there is no infrastructure or power then nothing
happens or people have to use firechat/opengarden if they have already

this was the idea behind the Public Access WiFi Service (PAWS) project we
did here in Cambridge few years ago (
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~as2330/docs/dev12.pdf)-- this wasnt greatly
successful because we didnt target the disaster usecase -- but now thinking
if such a system indeed existed - this maybe worthwhile including the
syrian refugee crisis and the refugees wanting to connect and no
money/credit cards/no credit rating etc..

This solely is not enough - but I think this could also be an enabler
especially when there are national emergencies..

So the idea is enable all WiFi access points to open up by default
controlled by the operators with the governments subsidising the
connectivity during national emergencies. We could probably even mesh these
access points but I think we would end up needing some long range antennas.

 we could probably do some fancy things like
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~as2330/docs/vpun.pdf but lets leave that for the

Arjuna Sathiaseelan
Personal: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~as2330/
N4D Lab: http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~as2330/n4d