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August 25, 2005

Who's Hot This Week? San Francisco; Pasadena (Not); Philadelphia Narrows; Palakkode, India; Kutztown, Penn.

San Francisco announces TechConnect citywide wireless plan: Didn't I ask that news be kept to a minimum while I was on vacation? And SF chose this moment to release its plan. The city will offer up its network for bid to nonprofits and private enterprise. The initial proposal is a request for information and comment, but the bid will apparently be awarded based on a response, and deployment would start a few months after the deadline of Sept. 28.

Given that we're on the cusp of fixed WiMax deployment, this proposal seems just months ahead of the curve. The San Francisco Chronicle's account of the announcement has Mayor Gavin Newsom stating that taxpayers will probably pay nothing. This seems awfully pie in the sky for the other objective: substantially lower cost than other broadband alternatives. (The article includes a properly attributed comment from an SBC-funded thinktank: it's appropriate that the quote is included and it's appropriate that the funding behind the analyst is also noted.)

However, the key metric here is 1 Mbps connections, not the 3 to 6 Mbps that cable and DSL now offer routinely in major metro areas (but not to every home in those areas), and the 10 to 20 Mpbs that's coming soon over copper and much higher speeds in certain effectively redlined areas.

Pasadena won't spend public dollars on Wi-Fi: The council says it would cost millions and only aid those with laptops. Vendors obviously didn't sell it well: Wi-Fi bridges are being used widely to bring municipal Wi-Fi from the outside to residential desktop users. Ah, well. The city will keep spending to put free Wi-Fi in libraries and elsewhere. They're looking to find a private vendor for a municipal network to bear the fiscal risk.

Philadelphia has narrowed candidates for building the citywide Wi-Fi network: EarthLink and HP consortiums are two remaining.

Palakkode, India, models computer centers linked wirelessly: The goal is to unwire 600,000 villages in two years, which is remarked as unlikely in the article. But potentially over 200,000 villages will receive a combination of non- and for-profit systems. Because the post is so unreliable, the article alleges, among other benefits to citizens are Internet-based bill presentment: you can't reliably pay your electrical bill through the mail in rural villages.

Kutztown, Penn., builds state's only municipal network: The town will build and operate the network municipally without a private partner, making it what the town believes is the first and only--due to legislation--municipal wireless network in the state. The town already has full fiber-optic coverage; the wireless will be just another layer. It's just 1.6 square miles in area.

Posted by dymaxion at August 25, 2005 05:27 PM


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