Would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Via Gabe and the wirelesstoronto discussion list, a link to Won’t You Be My Wireless Neighbor? It’s a lovely essay about sharing (some might say “stealing”) your neighbours’ wireless internet. In it, confessed WiFi-moocher Helen Rubinstein fondly remembers SSIDs gone by, and laments the loss of an open, unprotected network called Belkin_G-Plus_MIMO. She closes with this:

Perhaps the solution is a simple, old-fashioned gesture. Just knock on a neighbor’s door, and ask if she might be able to spare some wireless.

I can’t agree more. Here at Queen and Parliament, my neighbours and I have happily shared a single wireless network for years now. It’s wonderful. We simply bought a bunch of Meraki mesh repeaters (back when they were $50 apiece), and split the monthly internet bill a few different ways.

But here’s the thing: Here in Canada, many ISP user agreements prohibit you from sharing your internet connection. Here’s what Rogers’s Acceptable Use Policy says about the matter:

Without limitation, you may not use (or allow anyone else to use) our Services to […] use the Services for anything other than your own personal purposes (such as reselling the Services, providing Internet access or any other feature of the Services to any third party) or share or transfer your Services without our express consent

And from Bell’s Service Agreement:

You may not sell, market, provision, resell, re-market, directly or indirectly transfer, distribute or in any way exploit any portion of the Service.

Here on our corner, where we happily share our wireless internet access with anyone in reach of the signal, we use Teksavvy, a company whose Customer Agreement & Internet Usage Policy doesn’t explicitly forbid sharing or redistribution. I wish Helen’s proposed solution was as simple as it sounds, but at least here in Canada, it isn’t.