I also see an option to connect to a local LinkNYC hotspot. That's pretty cool. What kind of tech would I need if I wanted to set one up myself for a local LinkNYC that's in view but too far from my router?
I tried this using the NSM5 nanostation they recommend but I couldn't get it to work at ~200ft away. Granted I didn't have line of sight. I will say it was very easy to set up if you're at all familiar with setting up a custom router firmware like Dd-wrt.
I live in a fairly wealthy small NH town (1700 people) with terrible internet access. Comcast won't come into serve more than 2% of the town, so internet is almost exclusively through DSL and satellite. While the interest for municipal and locally-derived ISPs is DEFINITELY there, it has proven almost impossible to implement over the years, and not for lack of trying. Factors like hills, trees and a much larger distance between residences than in cities are going to cause a problem with mesh networks, so I don't see this solution as at all practical in 90% of NH.
That unfortunately leaves left some physical hookup like fiber as the most reliable source, and the costs are enormous for any town trying to do it. As the price is too high to put in a town budget, investors are needed to fund such projects, and they're going to require a return on their investment. As a result, for our small rich town, even though it is filled with clever IT people trying to figure out a solution, initial price-points have come in at $90+/month for 25 Mbps (and higher for faster speeds), but only if 2/3 of the town switches from DSL. If less than that jump from their current ISP, then the basic plan will be more (much more, or maybe even considered non-viable by investors). It's a big ask at that price point, especially as many of the residences that we need to switch are going to be people on fixed incomes. In the big picture, it underscores that the economics of rolling out competitive municipal internet solutions for most of the rural towns and villages of NH face a very high financial hurdle with current technologies. It really sucks, and for my town, it means many people will continue to be stuck at 0.7-1.5 Mbps download on DSL.
The network connects directly to the internet backbone, so we do not rely on an ISP
Here's where they lost me. The only parts of the infrastructure that ISPs and big cable might not own are DNS and other hubs. Most of the time, the cables themselves are owned and controlled by ISPs- meaning that the'll be able to detect the connection and throttle it.
This type of project has been popping up all over the place, and each time they have the caveat that they all still rely in some way on the pre-existing network (thereby are at the mercy of the host ISP).
Municipal broadband will be a better solution, if they don't get squanched by lobbyists and politicians who are already squarely pocketed by corporations.
EDIT: Upon re-reading, I'm realizing that they sound like they're actually installing their own networking rather than piggybacking. It gives me more hope for this to not be under an ISP's thumb, but I'll be cautious.
Even so, this type of networking will face bigger difficulties in the more rural areas of the state. Sure, getting a wireless signal from building to building in downtown Manchester or Concord will be a breeze, but once you get out of the city and into the boonies, it's going to be a lot more expensive to get fiber out to each potential node- and similarly difficult to get a wireless signal there.
A friend and I nearly tried something like that in SNH many years ago. The cost for a direct internet link that you could re-sell was prohibitively expensive. I'd still love to see if something like that become possible though.