ColumbusFreenet.org, Inc. (CFN) is a not-for-profit grassroots movement of community minded individuals that are dedicated to the improvement of business in Historic Uptown Columbus, Georgia. through the implementation of free wireless Internet access (Wi-Fi.)
By partnering the local businesses in the Historic Uptown Business District, CFN will offer patrons of these business free Internet access to promote business and spur growth of the historic business district.
Formed in early 2004, we have steadily grown our group of volunteers and established a network of wireless access-points throughout Uptown Columbus and the Historic District.
Our efforts are driven by:
Since ColumbusFreenet.org is a volunteer driven project, we ask any people or businesses to get involved if they share our goals of enhancing the lives and business opportunities of everyone living in or visiting Uptown Columbus.
ColumbusFreenet.org, Inc., provides patrons of the Historic Columbus Business District with free wireless Internet access to promote the beautiful historic business district and the early adoption of new business models.
We believe that a freely-accessible wireless network built on open standards is essential for placing Columbus at the forefront of the burgeoning wireless phenomenon.
ColumbusFreenet.org, Inc. was incorporated in the state of Georgia in October, 2004. The company’s office is currently located in Columbus, Georgia. All operations, from administration to product development, take place at this leased office location.
Installing Access Points
The inital backbone of the wireless cloud will be built entirely by ColumbusFreenet volunteers and contributors. As it grows in popularity and functionality, third parties will be able to add their own equipment, fully participating with all features of the cloud without restriction.
Free Internet Access to patrons and customers
An immediate benefit of the wireless cloud is open, convenient access to the Internet for all who are within range of an access point. This convenience will help bolster the clientelle of participating businesses.
When a user initially opens his or her web browser, it will be redirected to a "captive portal" displaying details about ColumbusFreenet as well as advertising from participating businesses. This advertising will eventually help sustain the bandwidth costs of the network, and provide revenue for enhancing the quality of the networking equipment.
Employing and empowering students of local colleges
ColumbusFreenet shall provide a cutting-edge opportunity for students in the form of work-study programs, including administration of the central data center, and participation in the design and upkeep of the cloud itself. This real-world, hands-on experience with wireless technology is a unique opportunity for the educational institutions in Columbus.
ColumbusFreenet is open to anyone wishing to help expand the network.
A healthy partnership with local business is one of the defining goals of ColumbusFreenet. A functional wireless cloud, built on a metropolitan scale, will open up new opportunities for local technology-based business.
CFN is structured to keep existing business networks secure. Because the users will be utilizing ColumbusFreenet's Internet access and not their own DSL or cable broadband, there is no fear of exposing machines on the private business network.
CFN is built around open standards. "Open" means that anyone is free to see the inner workings of the network, and learn from, master, and ultimately contribute to improving them. Business owners, hobbyists, students, and technology professionals are all equally encouraged to participate in making ColumbusFreenet the leading example for the rest of the nation to follow. This synergy between business and community will quickly allow ColumbusFreenet to grow beyond the restrictive model of a commercial network.
Innovative new business applications will be immediately embraced, to the mutual benefit of everyone in the region. Initial business opportunities will include fields like virtual private network consulting, intranet services, customer support, and vendor sales of wireless-related equipment. As the network grows and becomes widespread, larger bussiness opportunities (like voice-over-IP) will present themselves.
The wireless cloud will provide public access to anyone with a 802.11b/g equipped device, such as a laptop or a personal digital assistant. Both residents and visitors will be able to access the wirless Intranet and benefit fromt he services that such a network will make possible.
To develop a wireless network that will encompass the Uptown Columbus area. It will provide free access to residents and visitors.
Visitors and patrons of Uptown. Local businesses who wish to provide services via the intranet.
Provide an adequate wireless signal for users within the scope of the target area (currently targeting Uptown only.)
A wirless metro-area network servicing end-users and enhancing local business.
The access should be free to all individuals who own wireless devices. There must be a cost quality perspective to bring in sufficient business particpation. Since we're using limited connection to the pulic Internet, users will receive a restricted amount of bandwith. Existing service providers may use the Columbus Freenet infrastructure to provide additional bandwidth to their customers.
Life Cycle Stages
- define the scope of the project, and conduct feasibility research (done)
- implement backbone network, and set guidlines for participation (protocols, ip addressing) (in progress)
- maintenence, rotation of NOC administrative duties
User Acceptance Criteria
The acceptance of this project relies on the work of volunteers to establish the initial backbone, and the low cost of participation for local business and hobbyists to become nodes within the cloud.
Our goal is to identify key talent within our participating volunteer groups, and help focus their efforts where it will be most effective.
Scope Risk Limit
Even considering the broad scope of this project, the risk is very minimal. The infrastructure of the network is mostly decentralized, with the cloud "nodes" being owned and managed by individuals. An initial investment of $200-$300 is enough to become a participant. The time to manage the central services (web portal, ip addressing services, etc.) will come from volunteers who are interested in the field.
Reviews & Approvals Required
Status Reports Required
Staff Effort Limit
- Secure a location for the Network Operation Center (NOC)
- Install servers in the NOC
- Build a network addressing scheme
- Assign team members to manage the NOC
- Assign team members to manage addressing and other critical functions
- Install AP's in all locations and join them to the columbusfreenet.org cloud
- Fund Raising and promotion
What we are Not
CFN is not an ISP. Nor do we wish to become a ISP. We are not building a network to compete with any service providers or remove the business communities dependance on service providers. Our purpose is to better the business community by offering freenet access to patrons of Uptown only.