Last Mile Meshwork Cooperatives

Eugen Leitl eugen at
Mon Jan 10 05:03:40 PST 2011 

Last Mile Meshwork Cooperatives

Sepp Hasslberger

9th January 2011

There is a movement just starting up b it is not very well developed yet b
that has as its vision the establishment of an independent layer of
connectivity between end users, by means of directly networking (mesh
network) Wifi or similar wireless connections. The connectivity layer is
owned by users, who form a cooperative which takes care of the technical
details such as choice of equipment and installation, and which acts as a
representative of its members towards internet access providers, negotiating
one or more high bandwidth internet connections which are then made available
to all the members of the cooperative network. 

The idea here is that end users can, through their own network, connect with
each other without having to go through the internet access provider. Local
traffic does not have to exit the local network. In this way, we can
communicate and exchange information directly with our neighbors in a
networked environment, and we only have to access the rest of the internet if
we wish to access information that is not locally available, or to
communicate with people who are distant. 

The members of cooperatives so organized have at their disposition unlimited
local connectivity (to which they contribute by running their own router) and
they have a high performance connection to the world through one or more high
bandwidth connections that are paid by for by all. The price of connection
will be lower than that of every separate end user having an adsl or similar
connection and it will be better performing than an adsl line.  This would
add a robust and sustainable local layer of connectivity and communication to
the internet, and it would make the net much more resilient against
centralized control and even against unforseen catastrophic events. Once a
local network is functioning, data can be cached, making each neighborhood
more independent and more resilient to outside interference. 

Examples of this are the Italian Progetto Ragnatela and Mark Wallacesb bThe


Progetto Ragnatela facebook page:

Progetto Ragnatela English description:

The Connective homepage:

This is just a sampling, and there may be numerous such initiatives. A few of
them are linked in my description of Progetto Ragnatela. 

This was written to explain how local connectivity could be a useful element
in developing the concept of a desirable digital commons infrastructure as
developed by the Free Culture Forum ( on their wiki here:

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