Alternative To Stealing WiFi

Hey, sooner or later your neighbor with the unsecured Netgear is going to wise up and throw a password on that sucker. What will you do once that happens?

I was browsing SF ISPs since Comcast is getting hella expensive and stumbled across MonkeyBrains, based right in the Mission. They seem like a laid back bunch. One interesting thing on their site is their FREE wireless offer:

RESIDENTIAL AND BUSINESS in the Mission: We are starting a pilot program in the Mission District of San Francisco where wireless is FREE through the end of 2010 — all you pay for is the setup of an antenna on your rooftop. Speeds are 10Mbps to 20Mbps up and down. Fill out the Sign Up form and we’ll contact you to see if your house is eligible for this pilot program (it requires line of site to our antenna).

Sounds like an awesome idea, but you might not have a lot of luck convincing your landlord to install an antenna on the roof. Has anyone with a qualifying location taken these guys up on this offer?

9 Responses to “Alternative To Stealing WiFi”

  1. arjuna says:

    i didn’t take them up on their free offer, but they are my ISP, and they’re awesome. just like you thought, totally laid back. also, their connections speeds are pretty amazing. i consistently get around 15Mbps, both up and down speeds, and often much better (i’ve seen up to 23 Mbps up…)
    their antenna is on the KQED building, i believe, so if you can see that from your roof, you’re all set.

  2. Earl says:

    Or you can try the 100% free alternative from the good folks at the Free the Net project run by Meraki:

    • freenet says:

      meraki’s “free the net” more like “adspam the net”- I’m not a fan. Should be faster speed for making them ad money.

  3. MonkeyBrains says:

    Earl, yep meraki is OK… benchmark it with less than 1Mbps? That’s what I get. As far as I know, they are done building their network, so if you don’t get a signal at your home, SOL.

    MonkeyBrains in the mission is doing 10 to 20Mbps per residential antenna and actively deploying new devices. We are a tad backlogged, so you may need to re-submit your form to get our attention.

    Arjuna, you did get our free offer! Free Internet for 2010 with setup fee for antenna/wire/labor to get it up.

    See you at CoffeeBar/Atlas/AquariusRecords/etc!
    - Rudy

  4. Someone near our apartment must have one of these antennae, as we get a decent, unprotected wireless signal from It’s a convenient backup for when our Comcast router decides to shit the bed, so getting the service might be a big favor to your neighbors.

  5. amen says:


    Monkeybrains often toggles a small open access omni from the directional antennas installed on a participating subscriber’s roof. The omni provides free bandwidth for the surrounding area (50 – 150 meters).

    Although the omni is extremely throttled when compared to the master directional (15-25Mbps symmetrical) it does provide better than DSL speed :)

    Look for SSID -> in the Mission air!


  6. porkbelly says:

    They are stand-up dudes.

  7. Avi says:

    I took them up on it, we have killer internet most of the time right next-door to Aquarius Records. Its gone down a few times but they’ve been on top of it coming over to fix things right away.

  8. [...] Their pilot program in the Mission gives free wireless to qualifying customers – those who are in the line of site for their hardware – who pay the roughly $250 it takes to install a rooftop antenna. [...]

  9. [...] Brains, un proveedor de servicio con base en la Misión, está ofreciendo servicio Wi-Fi gratuito hasta finales de año para aquéllos que estén dispuestos a pagar el cargo de instalación de $250 [...]

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