Lawrence Freenet offers free citywide Wi-Fi access in Lawrence, Kansas

NOTE: This post is out-of-date.

Lawrence Freenet is providing free and paid Wi-Fi access to residents of Lawrence, Kansas. The coverage area is 16 square miles. Lawrence Freenet has been offering paid access for two years, but they’ve added free service, albeit for only 30 minutes each day and at slower speeds (384 Kbps downstream, 96 Kbps upstream). In addition, users need to have a mobile number beginning with 785 (the local phone exchange).

Joshua Montgomery, one of the founders, told me that people with paid subscriptions get significantly more bandwidth. He tested the network at one point and got 5.40 Mbps down, 1.43 Mbps up.

Lawrence Freenet gets no money from the municipality for running this service. Its network services are provided by Community Wireless Communications, a Kansas corporation established to provide services for the municipal wireless industry. Freenet has a long standing relationship with both Westar Energy and the City of Lawrence for use of rights of way. In exchange for providing services to low income families, it pays a reduced rate for access to water towers and other public property.

Other details about the network:

  • backhaul: 5% fiber, 95% Motorola Canopy nodes
  • Linux-based Wi-Fi mesh hardware which they build themselves
  • Payment engine: Linux-based software they developed

Lawrence Freenet was founded by Andy Brown, Joshua Montgomery, Kris Adair, Matthew Kuzinski and Kevin Kennedy (Radio Station Lead, 89.9 FM).


  1. annoyedcustomer says

    This is the worst service I have ever encountered. It is NOT high speed. If you like overpaying for service that drops your connection every few minutes then this is the service for you. Otherwise, go with any other ISP. Freenet is just plain bad, and their customer service sucks.