Big Dishes and Illegal Technology

Heard in Rob Flickenger's Omnipresent Wireless Cloud session here at the last day of Mac OS X Conference. Rob was talking about bringing out a big dish to do some point-to-point wireless networking with Wi-Fi and an older vintner asks him and his buddy what they're up to. They explain it, and he says, "As if that's legal!" Rob says,

There�s something about whipping out big dishes that make people think you�re doing something illegal�.it must be illegal because you�re not paying for it. What do you mean we�re not paying for it? We're putting in a lot of time and equipment.

Another story: Rob describes a family living out of a town on a hill in Sonoma. He loans them a high-powered telescope to see line-of-sight to houses that were close enough to get high-speed DSL. The guy starts knocking on doors, "Hi, I've been looking at you through a high-powered telescope..." After a few times of that, he took a different tack, and offered free service to someone who would let him put a re-transmission dish on their roof. It worked fine, and instead of multiple-year estimates for service, they were up in a few weeks. Over 20 families are now hooked up across this area using relays and routing.