A Unique Way to Address the Digital Divide

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    Henry Brown
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    From Good Magazine:

    You probably can’t use all the bandwidth you pay for each month on your home internet plan. The standard residential Comcast plan offers users 250 GB a month—maxing out would entail sending 50 million emails—and the median user draws only two to three gigs a month. Adam Black, founder of KeyWiFi, wants to put all that excess capacity to good use—and earn you some money in the process.

    Right now, about a third of Americans don’t have access to broadband at home. The biggest cost isn’t the computer, it’s the monthly connection—just as your cell service contract is usually a bigger expense than the cost of the phone. Black argues that a peer-to-peer approach to sharing wireless bandwidth will cut that cost for urban dwellers.


    He wants to do the same, making KeyWiFi the AirBnB of internet access.

    Black gives the example of a retail store with an average internet connection. It’s open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and “right next door to that shop, living above it or across the street, are lots of kids in average- or low-income families who cannot afford $700 a year to get online.”

    Black wants to make it possible for that shop to set up a wireless hotspot anyone can access for an affordable monthly fee. Eventually, he says, his technology could let the hotspot owners customize public access, allowing no more than two people to log on to the network during the day but unlimited use at night, for example. “It’s kind of like time-share WiFi,” Black says. Each user paying KeyWiFi a monthly fee of about $10, two-thirds of which gets kicked back to the hotspot hosts.

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