Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Free Wi-Fi

On WISPA's member listserv there has been a discussion about the next spectrum sale. It seems the esteemed Chair wants to mark his legacy by requiring 25% of the spectrum be used for free broadband. Broadband is defined as 768k now by the FCC. (I wonder if that messed with the number of BB users in the US, since DSL Lite is NOT 768k and neither is a lot of WISP delivered wi-fi at 128k, 256k and 384k.) By I digress.

So I do not side with CTIA. I think there should be conditions on the spectrum. Why? Because the members of CTIA, which is the twin sister to USTA, will be the spectrum winners as they have been for almost all the spectrum so far. And they don't even use it!

Why not force them to give some of it away? Well, WISP's are afraid that it will drive them out of business. News Flash! It's cable versus telco and AT&T versus Verizon. They don't even notice you, except at some local level (i.e., the local sales office that hasn't made its quota in months).

Muni Wi-Fi didn't put you out of business, did it? How about free wi-fi hotspots? How about AT&T giving their own customers a free 2 hours at Starbucks? Or free wi-fi at McDonald's?

Cablevision making Long Island one big Wi-Fi Hotspot may be a different matter. We'll see.

BTW, if you take care of all the things are your side of the ball, you usually win the game.

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