28 April 2009

The Man Burns in 130 Days

We have cleared the legal hurdles to run a test network at Burning Man 2009. This network will probably operate in the PCS1900 band, making it compatible with nearly all AT&T and T-Mobile handsets currently used in the US, as well as with any tri-band or quad-band handsets sold anywhere else in the world.

The current plan is to deploy a system largely intended for local (BRC-only) text messaging. We will also support limited speech service, connecting on-playa calls through user-provided numbers and routing inbound calls through the +883 country code. As a practical matter, the Burning Man 2009 experimental network will be important for testing hardware and software designs for use in rural villages, remote facilities and disaster relief applications.

We will release more details as they come together.


  1. I've always wondered how to open gsm ME, but the real way for opennes is to have Open BTS and open infrastructure equipment behind it. I wish you all best.

  2. So what should people with GSM phones expect ? Will I be able to SMS a friend as normal or will I need to do something 'weird' ? Will Rangers and Med be monitoring some SMS address ?

  3. This is going to be a closed network, so you will only be able to text other BRC residents. Subscribers will get to choose their own phone numbers. Assuming your friend chooses his/her BRC number to be same same as his/her real-world number, then the SMS will appear to be normal.

    You should assume that no service personnel are monitoring anything. We will not support emergency calls and will not offer any kind of special public safety service. We will be running an experimental GSM system. We are not a telephone company and promise absolutely nothing in terms of service. We need to be very clear about that.