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The Red Hook Initiative is bringing wifi and network expertise to the neighborhood

Image courtesy the Red Hook Initiative

By the Hook

For many of us, an open wifi network feels more like a right than a privilege. But for much of the world where internet connectivity is a scarcity, getting online can be a real source of empowerment. Even in our own backyard.

Red Hook Initiative is a community organization in the Brooklyn neighborhood. Among their programs, Digital Stewards employs local young adults aged 19-24 to install, maintain, and promote a wifi and mesh network in the area.

Using a curriculum created by Open Technology Institute and Allied Media Projects, the program trains Digital Stewards in network installation, video and web production, software and hardware trouble shooting, as well as community organization.

It’s all part of a larger Red Hook WiFi program that is bringing free network connectivity to all members of the community. Additionally the mesh network will ideally help Red Hook citizens connect with one another should another disaster like Hurricane Sandy strike the vulnerable neighborhood.

“That’s our hope, that the network is used as a source of communication throughout the neighborhood,” Robert Smith, one of the program’s participants, told The New York Times. “We want to have both, that second layer, so if the Internet goes down we can still connect with each other through the mesh.”

The Red Hook Initiative is always on the hunt for volunteers and is also hiring for several staff positions – get all the details here.

Now go forth (and lend a hand).

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