Both Mushroom Networks, which was started at the University of California, San Diego, and WiBoost Inc., based in Seattle, have built prototypes of simple wireless systems that make it possible for groups of neighbors to share their D.S.L. or cable Internet connections.
Both companies said that sharing high-speed lines might enable users in small neighborhood clusters to download files and Web pages up to 10 times faster.
[…] n principle, these technologies could work for a large group of neighbors, even with just a few Internet access points. That capacity – which could reduce the cost of Internet access considerably for its users – could, however, create substantial opposition from Internet service providers. Many of them are vigilant about restricting the sharing of individual network access points.
Both companies said they were going to great lengths to assure service providers that they did not plan to become bandwidth Napsters, a reference to the music file-sharing company that raised havoc with the audio recording industry.