With a small antenna, anybody can promote their extra bandwidth to neighbors
Almost half of the world’s population has no access to the Internet. The pandemic exacerbated this problem as people lost access to physical jobs.
Most of these people simply cannot afford a broadband connection or have trouble accessing one. WingNet, a Danish start-up, has developed an antenna that allows people to share a single broadband connection. This means that people who are far from a main router can still get online.
“The Internet affects almost every aspect of society and acts as a powerful economic engine,” says Kasper Svendsen, CEO of WingNet. “Many people are not benefiting from this growth because they lack internet access. In a broader sense, this affects both the economy and quality of life. “
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The idea is to treat the internet like a public utility company. Broadband connections are generally underutilized, which means there is a lot to share. This would allow people to access a single connection and simply bill for the percentage of the internet they used.
Sell additional bandwidth
The concept works in a mesh network. Larger buildings often operate in mesh networks with multiple modems using the same connection. Your device can then use an algorithm to jump to the box near you. Because of this, your internet typically stays fast on different floors of a hotel.
WingNet has developed an affordable antenna that allows anyone with a broadband connection to create their own wireless network. You can then share this network with neighbors and take advantage of their excess bandwidth. An app records how much internet is used and then bills each user accordingly.
Testing in Thailand
It is unclear if this idea would work in every country. For one thing, internet companies may not like people making money on their own broadband connections. However, they can test its effectiveness in Thailand. Thais also work and study from home more often. According to Svendsen, the Thai government has an official goal of making the Internet widely accessible.
“They announced that it was time to achieve this goal and we see our product as a great way to achieve this,” says Svendsen.
WingNet works with NGOs to test that the product works and is used as intended. They will set up antennas in Khlong Toei, Thailand’s largest slum with around 100,000 inhabitants. The hope is to be able to expand into neighboring countries as soon as restrictions allow.