Speakeasy NetShare may spell the beginning of real Neighborhood Area Networking: Speakeasy's NetShare service, written about all over the place today, allows a DSL or T-1 customer to share their connection with anyone they like and have Speakeasy bill their sharers directly, while rebating 50 percent of those fees against their direct customers' bill.
In a meeting last week with Speakeasy at a 10th floor showroom apartment in Seattle's hip Belltown neighborhood where Speakeasy was showcasing stream digital technologies and Wi-Fi for a contest, CEO Mike Apgar explained that many of their initial NetShare customers were surprisingly T-1 users.
Speakeasy offers DSL through partners in many locations, but T-1 is available more ubiquitously due to its more robust nature as a dedicated circuit. Speakeasy's pricing for T-1 runs under $400 per month for fractional (symmetral 384 Kbps) and up to $700 per month for full (1.544 Mbps).
This cost is high except for the many people who find themselves out of the range of DSL and either unable to get cable service or displeased with 128 Kbps capped upload speeds.
I receive email all the time from nascent Neighborhood Area Networks (NANs), and their big problem until now has been organizational. They don't know how to order the T-1, how to get it running, how to split service, how to give everyone email access.
In this new NetShare model, Apgar said, one customer signs up and the neighbors chip in $60 to $100 per month as their share. This might seem expensive except if you're in an area where there's little or possibility of service. With a T-1 and a legal powerful omni antenna, or some point to point links using devices that support Wireless Distribution System (WDS), suddenly you've got a NAN.
I'm hoping someone produces a do-it-yourself NAN guide, along the lines of Rob Flickenger's Building Wireless Community Networks but shorter and entirely focused on the practical details of NANs including which equipment and antennas to buy.