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

Re: Municipal Wi-FI and Incumbents

Tony P. (
Sat, 5 Mar 2005 19:16:29 -0500

In article <>, says:

> 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]

Speaking of which, I noted a Cisco wireless router hanging from the
ceiling of my local Shaw's (Aka Albertsons and boy do I hate that fact!)
today. One of these days I'll borrow a friends iPaq with the 802.11b
card in it and see if I can connect.

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