Mark Pesce Meraki and Free The Net – consumer economy

w00t we make a difference! Mark Pesce started it, me and a handful of others have been blogging about it. Ajay and Myles even established a mashup ICanHazMeraki.Net (why isn’t it embeddable? Grrr ajay!) Anyway, Sydney Morning Herald has caught on: A group of socially networked geeks hopes to bring free wi-fi to the masses,…

w00t we make a difference! Mark Pesce started it, me and a handful of others have been blogging about it. Ajay and Myles even established a mashup ICanHazMeraki.Net (why isn’t it embeddable? Grrr ajay!) Anyway, Sydney Morning Herald has caught on:

A group of socially networked geeks hopes to bring free wi-fi to the masses, reports Simon Sharwood.

FRUSTRATED by the NSW Government’s stalled free wi-fi project, a group of Facebookers have decided to start their own.

Yep Aussie Facebookers might be wasting $5 million of employers money, but at least they are doing it bringing down telecommunications companies 🙂

It was inspired by futurist Mark Pesce to create a free wireless network, which the group hopes will one day cover Sydney and make it easy for anyone to enjoy the convenience of free internet access for quick tasks such as checking email.

Known as Sydney Free Wireless, the group is using cheap mesh network technology from a Google-backed US start-up called Meraki to start a network of free neighbourhood wi-fi hot spots and promote such services through a grassroots campaign.

This is part of a revolution for business models – the customer as distributor and reseller. Not that it’s never been done before – Amway anyone? how about Tupperware?- it’s just so darn easy now. Banking, fundraising, telecommunications … welcome to the consumer economy. The C2C model.

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4 Comments

  1. The technology is different (Fon is not actually a mesh) but I think the business model is the same. Meraki – consumer get’s a kind of ‘carrier’ income. Fon – consumer gets a clip of the sale if their router is used and its taken off the monthly bill. I think….

  2. Not at all the same as FON.

    FON is very different technically and in terms of their sharing model.

    Firstly, as Laurel says, FON does not offer mesh networking. Each FON router runs on it’s own network and connects to the net via its own connection – they do not share connections with each other.

    Secondly, there is no way to get free net access from a FON system without being a Fonero. If you have a FON system at home, you can get free access on any other FON system you find anywhere. Which is v cool but is a different model to Meraki. Any non-Foneros (known as ‘Aliens’ – classy) need to pay for access to a FON system.

    Meraki, on the other hand, allows for free net access to anybody. In fact, if you buy the cheapest version, you *can’t* charge for access.

    Both systems broadcast two separate networks (allowing for a private encrypted network for the system owners).

    As for billing, both allow users to pay with their credit card at the time – directly to the company. FON then takes a 50% cut and passes on the rest to the owner of the system via PayPal. Meraki takes a transaction fee (not sure how much, you’d have to ask somebody who’s done it – the language makes it sound like it’s simply to cover credit card processing and mail, though) and mails you a *cheque* once a month (if you make over $20)

    I hope that’s clear! 🙂

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