Putting Antennas in Parks and on Firetowers Is Just the Beginning

I opened my mouth in astonishment at the story I read in today’s Daily Hampshire Gazette. It’s such a cool and wonderful idea, I can’t believe I never thought of it.  The state has worked out an agreement with the Department of Conservation Resources to rig up wireless antennas on all of their various buildings, fire towers and other land points they control to provide wireless internet to rural areas of our state.

An  Wi-Fi antenna on top of a firetower can beam in the ‘Net for a 20-30 mile radius. That means there will be abundant ‘hotspots’  in the sticks, since that’s where the DCR has most of its towers and buildings.

So soon you’ll be hiking in a state forest and you’ll pick up a clear wifi signal along the route. Despite my enthusiasm for this plan, there are some who still say it’s not good enough.  David Greenberg, of WiredWest, said, “it’s  a great mobile technology, but there are physical limits to what you can do with it. It won’t work for movie downloads.”

But here’s why I like it. Once you put up these little antenna along the DCR buildings, then you can see how we could easily put them up along the MassPike, to provide nearly statewide free wi-fi.   Or on every state-owned vehicle, roving routers that would provide another pocket of wi-fi signal.  It means that the idea of free for all internet will have arrived. And that will be a good thing.