While several cities are involved in high profile wireless initiatives, including Portland, an organization called Netequality is working to provide access using a different approach. Today GigaOM has a report ( Really Plug and play WiFi ) about the marketing of low cost routers and repeaters that are being used to provide access to apartment complexes and neighborhoods. Netequality have come up with a plug-n-play version of Merakiâ€™s wireless mesh router, that can be plugged into a power socket. This is an interesting and low cost approach to providing access. Basically a mesh network that shares an Internet connection. On the Netequality web site they document several of their current projects.
I am very interested in playing around with this and have ordered one of the plug-in devices, along with one of their routers. When I have it set up I'll post an update.