100. Chebucto Community Net and
By Andrew D. Wright
Welcome to the 100th Mousepad column. For four years we members of the
Chebucto Community Net have been happy to share our computer knowledge
with our readers.
A registered charitable society, the Chebucto Community Net is Nova
Scotia's oldest independent Internet Service Provider. It was set up to
help provide access to all on a non-profit, non-commercial basis. Ordinary
people from the community banded together to provide service to the
We believe that communities grow and prosper with communication. The tools
of communication should be available to all regardless of financial
resources. It has been our experience that some of the finest, most
selfless persons having the most to offer the world at large are among the
Back in 1994 when Chebucto Community Net was founded there was a lot of
concern over what's been termed the "digital divide". That would be the
divide between the kind of access people with money have compared to the
lack of access people with less money have.
These days a lot of things have changed. Dial-up internet access, when it
is even an option, is proving too slow for the amounts of data people want
Many low income people don't have the landline phone line dial-up access
requires. High speed access costs more than many can afford. The digital
divide is re-asserting itself, a situation where we all lose out.
Last April the Chebucto Community Net announced a plan to build a high
speed wireless network in Metro unlike anything seen anywhere before.
All users would have access to local Halifax websites as well as federal
and provincial government websites for free. Full access to the rest of
the Internet over a secure Virtual Private Network would be a benefit of a
Chebucto Plus membership in the Chebucto Community Net, currently $100 a
year or four payments of $30.
The network access would be supplied by Chebucto Community Net and
distributed through a network of wireless nodes hosted in peoples homes.
An average size low-rise residential block could be served by three to
five nodes. A couple of dozen users can get access from a single node.
A wireless node is basically a rebuilt personal computer that's had the
hard drive removed and a couple of 802.11g wireless cards added. Nodes are
designed to be plugged in and left alone.
The first area to go online will be within an eight block section of
south-end Halifax bordered by South Park Street, Clyde Street, Queen
Street and Morris Street.
Subsequent wireless areas will be determined by public demand. There is a
form on the Chebucto Community Net website where potential wireless node
hosts can sign up. Areas with clusters of nodes would be prime candidates
for wireless access.
The Chebucto Community Net does not receive any government funding, it is
financially self-supporting through membership fees and tax deductible
donations. The people who run it come from all walks of life and
volunteers are welcome. Come join us!
Chebucto Community Net:
The Mousepad runs every two weeks. It's a service of Chebucto Community
Net, a community-owned Internet provider. If you have a question about
computing, email firstname.lastname@example.org or
click here. If we use your question
in a column, we'll send you a free mousepad.
Originally published 14 January 2007