Philly Community Wireless is a working group of organizers, technologists, academics, public school teachers, and City Hall staffers in Philadelphia. During a time of social distancing and online teaching, roughly half of the city’s public school students lack a wifi connection at home. In certain neighborhoods, even more residents lack any connection to the Internet. We seek to address the city's digital divide with community-owned and -operated mesh network technologies.
Mesh networks allow a single Internet connection to be shared among a broader group of users with very little cost or infrastructure required. With the help of PhillyWisper, a pro-net neutrality, wireless internet service provider, we are working toward installing two pilot sites in Kensington and Fairhill. From there, we will plan participatory design workshops and technical training for the community that will empower them to maintain and grow this free network connection.
This docs page provides in-development technical information and guides for replicating the project's configuration and distribution of routers and antennas for building a mesh network.
If you are looking for a non-technical overview of the project, or are interested in signing up for PCW coverage, please visit our homepage.