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Wyoming city shows you how

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Sick of not being able to get decent DSL service? The answer may be to take matters into your own hands and bypass the telco altogether.

That's according to the residents of Laramie, a city of 26,000 people in deepest, darkest Wyoming. They run their own non-profit community wireless Internet service called Lariat (Laramie Internet Access and Telecommunications), which includes high-speed Net access service for a fraction of the price of most services in the US.

"It's not rocket science," Lariat chairman Brett Glass told The Register. Residents started the networking business in 1995 in an effort to bring everyone in the area online after various squabbles with the area's telephone company (now Qwest). The initial cost was around $3,000, with many residents donating their own PCs, according to Glass. Relevant equipment was stuck on private land, and copper wire was bought from Qwest for areas that couldn't get wireless.

Individuals get a normal dial-up service for $5 a month, or $20-$30 a month for high speed (10MB/second). Businesses can now get T1 wireless or SDSL (symmetric DSL - which provides the same bandwidth up and downstream) for a monthly fee of $125.

"Anyone can do this - people are just afraid to, or don't know it's possible to do it as a community effort rather than going to a private company," said Glass.

Information on how to set up a similar enterprise can be found on the lariat site. ®

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