Thats the big thing government forgets to realize, that the costly part of FREE wifi to deliver is End user infrastructure and support, not deployment of the transport network. Thats why I believe many Government projects will not be successful. I can give you a perfect example. I almost had some contracts for broadband to street cameras in DC, and my intent was going to broadcast FREE wifi from every camera location. The broadband to camera contract revenue would have justified the cost for me to pay for the Wireless deployment, and did not require the full bandwidth of the radios for the project. It was only going to cost me an extra $110 per site (one time) to add a SR2s to layer on top the WiFi capabilty portion. Where the real cost was, was the end user CPE or Outdoor antenna, tech support, and buying computers, etc. The plan was maybe I'd set up a 900 number for the support, or pre-paid support hours via the web portal. Politically it would have also been good, maybe even press worthly, "those annoying fines from traffic cameras, now gives back to the commmunity with FREE Wifi."

What the government should be doing is providing grants or loans for free end user equipment. Then Third Party WISPs would flock in grand numbers, to provide the transport network. Or tax credits for builders thatinclude structure wiring, or allow easements for central wireless backhaul to the building. What doesn't add up to me on Free Wifi is the Governement tries to find a Internet provider to pay for it, through the benefits of advertising or access to eye ball traffic. But if a Marketing company were to give PCs to the End user, what better way would there be to control eye balls of the end user. The ISP doesn't need to control the transport network to control the end user, if they control them via the PC. I think they are making the wrong partnerships. There are also many assets that are needed such as assets of the property owners, and that isn;t available unless property owners/managers are included in on the deal somewhere.

Tom DeReggi



Peter R. wrote:

Most RFP's I have reviewed including Atlanta are hot for someone to come in and give away free wi-fi, especially to schools and the under-served sections of town.

There are a couple of  problems:
1) How do you monetize that?
2) Most of the under-served don't have computers

The only real threat to the telcos and cablecos is that the cheap users will use the free system, so some of their revenues will decrease. But so will support costs. And I am sure at some point they will stop maintaining and/or upgrading low revenue facilities, furthering the Digital Divide. But that won't stop them from collecting USF monies.

There are monies available to build these networks if the governments could get it together: Quality of Life grants; Homeland Security funding; USF monies for libraries and schools - and those are just the ones off the top of my pointed beanie.

It's all coming to a head. Between now and 2009, lots of turbulence to come. Much of it hangs on the lame telecom re-write and how much of a push-over Martin will be. If he gets a spine, it could be a great economic revival.

- Peter


Dawn DiPietro wrote:

All,

As quoted from the article;

"“The competitive impacts of municipal broadband will be especially threatening to incumbents to the extent that muni nets can be cost- justified by increased efficiencies, cost savings and other ‘internal’ or social benefits captured by local governments, schools, and other public institutions,”
the report states."

While some understand the cost savings these networks can bring others are still focused on the "free wifi cloud" for the population in these areas. There needs to be more focus on the fact that there are so many other benefits to these municipal networks such as water meter reading, public safety communications etc. For these applications to work a robust network has to be built with the following in mind low latency, 99999 reliability, high capacity, and so on. Cost savings for local government, businesses and residential should also be factored into the equation for services such as telecommunications times X number of phone lines just for government offices and broadband access for all schools. I understand that this is only the tip of the ice burg and there are so many other applications and cost savings for these networks. My point is that the network has to be built robust enough to be able to support it all including a wifi cloud.

Thanks to Jack for bringing this article to the list. :-)

Regards,
Dawn DiPietro

http://www.telecommagazine.com/newsglobe/article.asp?HH_ID=AR_2244


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