Talk of the Nation had a story about Municipal WiFi today, with representatives from Chaska, MN, Philly, Verizon, and CNET (huh?).
For those of you that haven't heard the discussion between "the sides" of the Municipal WiFi debate, it's an interesting place to hear the opinions, including those of Verizon and public opinion. Requires real player or Window Media.
- The CNET guy is an idiot (sometimes). He claims that anyone putting together a network with 802.11b is using 'old old' technology and it will have to be replaced in 3 years, thus implying that you shouldn't do it.
He also assumes that "internet technology" will just naturally get cheaper, just like Air Conditioners and appliances, thus not requiring any municipal involvement. It's been pointed out to me by Nyvia Colon that most people in the lower-income areas of Boston can't afford their own A/C or washer/dryers. So... obviously this guy has a thing to learn about economics.
- If you notice, the most successful WiFi projecst are in rural, low population, and low density communities, particularly in the southwest and in the midwest. Technically these are the easiest areas and those that are the hardest to "wire" using cable, copper, or fiber. The difficulty of Municipal WiFi goes up substantially in dense areas with varying geography, because wireless has a harder time going through buildings, trees, and hills.
I wonder if the larger cities (including Philly and others) realize this when forging ahead on these projects.