WHAT IS TUCSON MESH?

Tucson Mesh is a community-controlled wireless internet network that offers sliding-scale and low-cost internet access. The network is designed, spread, and maintained by a collective of its users and volunteers. We use 'mesh' technology to create a strong and resilient network that is faster and more reliable than what is currently provided by traditional internet service providers — and when you join, you make it easier for your neighbors to join as well. Tucson Mesh practices net neutrality. Unlike corporate internet service providers, we will never monitor your web traffic, collect your personal data, or throttle your internet speeds on any website.

WHY ARE WE DOING IT?

Tucson Mesh is an anti-capitalist project. We believe vital services should be distributed on the basis of how they can best serve everyone, not by how they can produce the largest profit for a handful of corporations. Reliable access to the internet has become a necessity. Yet, it remains financially inaccessible for many.

We are not a charity. Our goal is not simply to "help people in need." We seek to change the underlying conditions that produce unequal access in the first place. We're building a world where the infrastructure to access the internet is held in common.

With our project, Tucson Mesh hopes to reduce the isolating effect of internet technology. Instead, we use technology to build and strengthen community ties.

We didn't choose to work on providing internet access because we're tech experts (we're not!), but as a demonstration to ourselves and our community: if complicated technologies such as the internet can be given away at cost by a network of volunteers, what's to stop people in Tucson from doing the same thing with mental health services? Auto repair? Housing? We envision numerous possibilities for organizing and restructuring for a post-capitalist world.

HOW DOES IT WORK?

Tucson Mesh gets bandwidth directly from an internet exchange point (IXP) and distributes it wirelessly through rooftop antennas. When you join Tucson Mesh, you and other members of Tucson Mesh will install a wireless router on your rooftop.

The rooftop router connects you to our network and the broader internet. It will also broadcast throughout your neighborhood. This makes it easier for your neighbors to join and strengthens Tucson Mesh.

We invite you to get further involved by spreading the word through your social connections in your community and by helping us to maintain the network. We hope to create an active and empowered base of members who understand the technology they are using, troubleshoot their connection with other members, and assist with future installs to keep Tucson Mesh growing.