The Politics of Wireless Philadelphia


The New York Times has one of the better articles I have read in recent times on the strained yet working relationship between the city of Philadelphia and its biggest and most famous corporate citizen, Comcast. The two entities are having a lovers spat, over the city’s decision to build a wireless network. Earthlink is the company that is building that network. One point which is most important is buried in the story.

But the attraction of Wireless Philadelphia to its proponents is that it is a stand-alone, affordable network – not part a broader effort to sell video, voice and data services, the way companies like Comcast and Verizon have approached broadband.

I hope this is going to force the incumbents to change their approach and start offering standalone broadband. Naked DSL or Naked Cable Broadband is what we need. I get my broadband access from Comcast, along with basic cable, which I almost never watch. I pay around $60. If they offered me 10 megabits per second, instead of 3 megabits per second speeds I get now, they can still charge me more. But for things I want, not for things they force down my throat.



In Holland we try to deploy municipal fiber in some cities and I can say: incuments’ tactics are not bounded to borders… It’s allways amusing to hear cableheads talking about the future potential of coax (“Wait until we have Docsis 2.0, it will fulfill all our needs! Really!”)and ignoring the future symmetrical capacity needed by customers.
Very short-sighted and to make things worse: our national government just is too affraid to support us. Those sissies are scared by the European Committee (which makes supra-national European legislation). That is really a pity and a potential risk for innovation in the long run. One of the main reasons for me (including alot of collegues) is to realize “open networks”, for every contentprovider, for all endusers. Municipal broadband networks, wireless or wirebound, It’s a way of thinking. I think it has a prosperous future.

Om Malik

John, unfortunately we don’t have that option in san francisco. i hope the incumbents get their act together, and figure out that many of us would rather have more bandwidth than bad television shows.

John Thacker

Time Warner Cable generally provides unbundled cable broadband in their areas. However, they also provide bundled discounts– get cable TV and broadband, save $10/month on the package. (It’s similar for combinations that include their VOIP phone service.)

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