NewburyOpen.Net, a commercial free community network, celebrates two years of operation: The brainchild of Michael Oh, the network offers free service subsidized by businesses that promote themselves through the offering. Oh is also known for some of his stunts, like pulling up a Wi-Fi equipped, Internet linked car in front of a Boston Starbucks.
The network is open in several senses, including offering these white papers that describe how to create your own, similar network from infrastructure to marketing. The idea that Oh started hasn't spread too far yet: there are few other business areas offering the marketing/advertising/Wi-Fi combination that NewburyOpen.Net is. But the idea of free Wi-Fi in business districts, sometimes funded by municipalities and associated businesses, is a meme that keeps spreading.
The group itself has its first spinoff launching this summer, however, in Salem, Massachusetts. A local bank is funding the initial effort, and a Salem group is working to sign up businesses for the effort.