Wireless Broadband Internet Gaining Steam?

  • Wireless Broadband Internet Gaining Steam?
    Yesterday’s SF Chronicle has an article, “COMMUNAL BROADBRAND; Neighbors sharing high-speed Internet access via wireless networks is popular and controversial”–the title pretty much sums it up. The wireless freenet project in Champaign-Urbana has been ramping up lately, though I haven’t had the time to be directly involved. I know those guys have had success sending a directional beam house to house over a distance of almost a mile, so plans are now underway to set up nodes for omni-directional wireless broadband access, connected to each other by directional wireless.

    Last night at 9pm PST Boingo Wireless unveiled itself. It’s a company which aims to aggregate local and regional wireless broadband service and resell it, so that customers can get wireless all over the place with just Boingo as their provider. A cool idea, I reckon, though I still prefer the *free* model, though I recognize that in the modern economy finding wireless freenets can be a hit-or-miss operation, whereas the Boingo service promises to provide much more predictable and closer to ubiquitous access. This may indeed be something which helps push wireless broadband forward, and maybe even can peacefully coexist with the wireless freenets. The freenets are aimed more at serving neighborhoods, giving users access in their homes, yards, and streetcorners, whereas the Boingo service seems to have its sights aimed at having everywhere service–something that’s possible, but more difficult under the freenet model, mostly due to the need to organize so many nodes.

    One caveat to the Boingo idea that I already see is that the company is just an aggreator and completely dependent on other small providers to actually deliver the service, which could lead to all sorts of customer service nightmares. Would Boingo have to give refunds if a given local provider goes down? Of course, the upside is that Boingo doesn’t have to first spend billions on infrastructure before it can roll out service.

    There’s also a CNET article on the new company.

    Previous posts on wireless:

  • Wireless freenets 9/26/01
  • Infoworld says: ‘Parasitic grid’ wireless movement may threaten telecom profits; I say: so be it. 8/28/01
  • Make your own DSL 8/27/01
  • Study Says Cable Modems Will Outstrip DSL–Does this Feed the Media Monopoly Monster? 7/17/01

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