TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Municipal Wi-FI and Incumbents

Re: Municipal Wi-FI and Incumbents

Tony P. (
Fri, 4 Mar 2005 19:59:50 -0500

In article <>, cjmebox- says:

> This is from yesterday's Guardian. It includes an interesting
> juxtaposition of Verizon's and BT's positions on municipal Wi-Fi
> networks.


> Excerpt:
> .....
> So far, so good. But city hall soon ran into serious problems that
> could stifle the wireless dreams of municipalities across the world. US
> cable companies, which see citizen-funded networks as a threat to their
> commercial fiefdoms, backed a bill that effectively outlawed municipal
> wireless in the state of Pennsylvania. In December, the state passed a
> bill forbidding any municipality in the state from running an
> "information network". Only a last-minute deal with Verizon, the
> state's de facto monopoly provider of broadband, saved Philadelphia's
> vision. Verizon promised to allow the city's network, but at the
> expense of the rest of the state. At least 15 US states are considering
> similar telco-backed bills to ban municipal networks.

> To Dianah Neff, Philadelphia's chief information officer, municipal
> wireless is no mere luxury. Neff, a veteran public servant, sees
> municipal networks as a potential leveller in a city where 70% of state
> school children receive free school meals. "We have a vibrant
> downtown," she says, "but we need to make sure all our neighbourhoods
> can compete in the knowledge economy.

> ..........

> Chris Clark, chief executive for BT Wireless Broadband, said the UK's
> biggest broadband supplier would not be taking the same approach as
> Verizon. "The community wireless projects, which started in an
> environment of concern about rural service, are evolving into providing
> all sorts of innovative services," he says. "It would be a pity to see
> such innovation stifled. More recently, a number of metropolitan
> wireless projects have been in the pipeline. BT is fully supportive of
> these initiatives."

> TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: City of Independence was looking very
> favorably at muni-wi-fi for our town, but SBC -- Southwestern Bell --
> put a kibosh on it, threatening to get the state commission to do a
> rule like that proposed for Pennsylvania. SBC did not like the idea
> at all of a community giving away for free the DSL service they
> charge an arm and a leg for. PAT]

And we all know why Verizon and SBC don't like the idea. First - Skype
is now available for the Palm OS. So tell me, what happens when for
say $10 a month you can use the muni network. You load Skype on your
laptop or PDA and use it to make and receive calls while in the city.

This kills both wire line and wireless. The incumbent carriers are
scared. They can see that their years of reliance on tariff are coming
to a crashing halt.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I did something sort of exciting for
me a couple days ago. Our local McDonalds has a WiFi network but I
have never seen anyone use it. So when I went over for lunch the
other day, I took along my IBM ThinkPad laptop (it is a really
ancient model, the 770, but it is networked both with wires and
with my wireless NetGear router card) and played around on line
with it while I had lunch. PAT]

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