Red Hook Wi-Fi
|Mission statement||Resilience, Opportunity, Community and Social Justice.|
|Type of project||Non Commercial|
|Location||Red Hook, Brooklyn. United States of America.|
|Owner||Red Hook Initiative|
Due to the location of Red Hook, Brooklyn, between the Red Hook Channel and the Buttermilk Channel, many of its residents face various challenges in accessing broadband service. A survey found out that many people in the area accessed the internet primarily through mobile phones and that over 30% of the population did not have broadband access at home.
Beginning in Fall 2011, the Red Hook Initiative (RHI), a Brooklyn non-profit, approached the Open Technology Institute about collaborating on a community wireless network. RHI wanted a way to communicate with the residents immediately around its community center.
When the network was initially launched, it had support for up to 150 simultaneous users and ran on an open-software platform called Commotion.
In 2012, after Hurricane Sandy struck the area, and many internet and communication systems were down throughout much of the city, Red Hook remained connected through its mesh network and the headquarters of the Red Hook Initiative became a hub for volunteer coordination, donation collections food distribution as residents came to the Red Hook Initiative's office to charge their devices and connect to the internet.
Shortly afterwards, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) connected Red Hook Wi-Fi to its satellite system, linking itself, the residents and the Red Cross into a communication matrix that could be used to find out about emergency relief, food banks as well as shelter locations.
After the relief efforts had finished, a team led by the Red Hook Initiative continued to make improvements to the mesh network by installing nano stations powered by solar panels on rooftops around the Red Hook neighborhood.
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