It only I could have a computer that was as cuddly as it was smart. If only I could have a computer that communicate with little facial expressions instead of beeps and chirps. If only…
Here’s something about that Broadban Global Area Network (BGAN). This might change the telecommunications landscape.
Link: Wired News.
Newspapers are struggling with the realites of revenue losses and changing reading habits. They look to wireless, but don’t really have much sense as to why.
As newspaper content zaps to more and more handheld devices, readers
will rely on daily papers not just for news, but also to solve life’s
little problems, predicts Robert S. Cauthorn, vice president of digital
media for the San Francisco Chronicle. On command, newspaper staffers
will transmit information to their readers’ cellular phones, pagers,
personal digital assistants and laptops, perhaps helping them to locate
a restaurant and even find out how long the wait for dinner is.
Just as Verizon now must still let other phone companies offer local and long distance services, WiFi’s winning lead contractor will have to offer access to any company at a fair wholesale rate.
But the big difference is that Verizon will always own the wires, while the city will continue to own the entire wireless system and all its equipment. So far, the scheme is working. Even before Neff’s announcement last week, corporations like AT&T and Lucent Technologies had effectively signed on â€” by helping to finance pilot programs in Powelton, Olney, Norris Square and elsewhere. And with last week’s announcement of HP and Earthlink going head-to-head came still more good news that megacorp Intel will stay in for long haul. The chipmaker has already donated $100,000 for the current crop of test hot spots and now says it will help put some 10,000 computers into homes in poor neighborhoods â€” featuring Philadelphia as one of 13 cities worldwide in its Digital Communities initiative.
Minneapolis is very bold. It’s unclear why other major US cities are not taking such initiative, or why there aren’t national organizations being formed to figure out a viable plan. Why should every city have to reinvent the wheel? Portland is making considerable strides towards going wireless. And of course, Philadelphia has been through a number. But is anybody talking?
What Minneapolis is proposing – a privately built and operated Wi-Fi network available to every home and business – has never been done on such a large scale. And while the ownership plan may ward off unfair-competition charges from telecom companies, who bitterly attacked Philadelphia’s initial notion of a city-owned system, its feasibility rests on a business model that has yet to be developed, let alone tested.
For example, it’s an open question what the Wi-Fi owners would pay Minneapolis for access to its light poles and rooftops – or what they would charge the city to provide high-speed data streams to its police cars and firetrucks, as well as 300 city park shelters, schools and office buildings. Profitability will require widespread sales of network access – and probably of special services or content – to residential and business customers. But at what cost, and under what rules?
Under the "Digital Communities" initiative, Intel is leading a diverse group of high-tech companies to help 13 "pilot" communities design, develop and deploy comprehensive solutions and services to enhance government efficiency, promote economic growth, foster greater community satisfaction and bridge the digital divide.
Perhaps a new way of ranking civic engagement.
Perhaps emergency preparedness efforts will begin to understand the saftey net effect of the network. While this effort is encouraging, a lot more has to happen before the government opens up these WiMax spectrums for public use.
Link: St. Petersburg Times Online.
I think it’s great that cities are going wireless. I think it’s magnfiicent that one day, I’ll be able to open my laptop on any street corner and download the latest on this or that or post to my blog. I think it’s great that we’re always just a stone’s throw from the information we need, or want. But, I wonder what it does to the possibilities of public space? Devices shield us from publics. They allow us to be in public space but only engage when we choose to. For instance, with my laptop open, I can choose whether or not to engage with other people. It’s my excuse to retreat or to treat others as selections in a vending machine. But wireless allows me to connect to a network as well. I’m connected to other people, they just might not be present. So my question is: do networks equal publics? If not, how do we move from networks to publics? Or perhaps these categories disintegrate with the introduction of wireless technology.