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Wireless Networking Government Hardware Politics

New Report On Municipal Wireless 128

PublicNet SF Coalition introduces us to a new report by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance called "Localizing the Internet: Five Ways Public Ownership Solves the U.S. Broadband Problem." It makes a strong case for municipal ownership of new wireless and fiber-optic networks. The history shows that there is a need for more aggressive public involvement in broadband deployment, and the affordability of wireless is a great opportunity for this.
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New Report On Municipal Wireless

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  • killer idea. (Score:3, Informative)

    by User 956 ( 568564 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @04:24AM (#18259704) Homepage
    this is a great idea. It's not about ownership of the network, but innovation on top of that baseline platform which is important. When everyone has access, the quality of services increases for everyone through competition. Well, at least, ideally.
  • Why not? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @04:42AM (#18259774)
    The government has done a great job operating the public school system, maintaining the levees in Louisiana, and keeping civil order in Iraq. Why not have them run the Internets and everything else as well?
  • Did *you* RTFR? (Score:5, Informative)

    by modeless ( 978411 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @05:28AM (#18259922) Journal
    The article may be vague, but the report is quite specific and detailed. There are many case studies of publicly-owned communication infrastructures, some offering telephone services. There is also debunking of industry-funded studies claiming failures of projects which are actually succeeding.

    As I read the report, I found myself constantly nodding my head. It sounds like it was written by a Slashdotter (but then edited for clarity). This report lays down in plain language every single good reason why communications infrastructure, including both wireless and fiber, should be publicly owned (not necessarily publicly operated). Every public official from city council members up to Congress needs to read and understand this report before they make policy decisions on these issues.
  • Re:DREAMERS! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Stooshie ( 993666 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @05:54AM (#18260016) Journal

    ... just point to one city that is actually DOING THIS ...

    South Korea [] funded a national project, not just city-wide, and now has one of the highest penetrations of Broadband in the world. I have also heard that they get 100Mbps standard connection speed.

  • by mailseth ( 227177 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @11:32AM (#18262258)
    Time for me to link to the locally spawned OSS mesh software. The basic idea behind it is that everyone is a node, or can mount a node up on their roof. The software utilizes the HSLS algorithm to self-optimize the layout of the network. So once you've installed your node, you *are* the last mile solution. []
  • by JazzLad ( 935151 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @02:28PM (#18264978) Homepage Journal
    UTOPIA is a beautiful thing. I had it for about a year and a half (Murray, UT - just moved, no longer avbl to me :( ). Lots of negative advertising by Comcast about how it will ruin/bankrupt/whatever our city, but they are obviously running scared. Reminds me of the movie Head of State ('He's for CANCER!').

    On UTOPIA, I got 15mbit each way, seeing sustained downloads of ~11mbit from usenet (uh, doing a lot of reading ...). Comcast started offering their $70 plan for $33/mo (+ taxes) to try to compete (UTOPIA is $40/mo taxes included through xmission) but it's still only 7mbit (lucky to see 4 in my experience) down and 768 up (they actually get pretty close to that, again, in my experience).

    Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but isn't this the sort of muni internet access talked about above? AFAIK (IMBW), the city ownes it & ISPs sell access to it.
  • by grandpa-geek ( 981017 ) on Wednesday March 07, 2007 @03:36PM (#18266088)
    A few years back, IEEE-USA did some work on US broadband policy. First, there is the issue of defining "broadband." In the IEEE-USA view, anything under a bidirectional gigabit to the home is legacy technology. Essentially, the "blazing fast" 5 megabit broadband being offered by current broadband providers is dumbed-down compared to what other countries are installing. Note that bidirectional gigabit technology means any subscriber can become a content, applications, or services provider.

    Having legacy broadband creates an innovation gap. Innovators in countries with real broadband will think of innovations that won't occur to US innovators because of the speed gap. I have described the difference as analogous to the difference between animal power and engine power. If one horsepower is a fundamental limit in your thinking, you try to develop more efficient ways of hooking up more than one horse to do the work. If you have multi-horsepower engines, then the innovation goes to improving the engines and finding other ways to use engine power.

    A concept advocated by many members of the IEEE-USA group that participated in the work was separation of content and carriage. One way to achieve this is end-user ownership. Another (with some issues) is municipal ownership. BTW, we were told that the incumbent telecom companies don't have the money to do real broadband because they still owe billions they borrowed to do ISDN.

    We have to get policymakers away from the concept that broadband only gets built to carry one-way proprietary entertainment content (like cable does). With real broadband, the killer app may turn out to be something like full motion family videoconferencing. The technology can support data, voice, and video over a single connection to the home. Also, the end-user ownership concept implies that to get content, applications, or services would require separate arrangements with those providers. That means alacarte entertainment content could be easily supported.

    Perhaps if we get real broadband we will see the kinds of $50 per month, gigabit speed, combined data, voice, and video connections we see other countries implementing.

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.