Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bits&Bytes: CMU kids ponder city-wide wi-fi

Noodle heads noodle behind closed doors:
Bits&Bytes: Comcast unveils higher rates after FCC eases rules A group of Carnegie Mellon University students are putting the final touches on a report considering what a citywide Wi-Fi Internet access could mean to Pittsburgh, but stops short of telling the city what to do.

'It's not our job to say what's best,' said Jon M. Peha, an associate director of CMU's Center for Wireless and Broadband Networking, whose class of about 21 undergraduate and graduate students spent the fall semester doing the work free of charge.

The report, likely to be released to the public sometime in January, sought to present scenarios estimating how much a citywide Wi-Fi Internet network might cost, what one or multiple Wi-Fi providers could expect to earn from each neighborhood, and how city government and services might use the Wi-Fi network.

The class presented its analysis to an invitation-only panel that included city Councilman Bill Peduto, telecom attorney and former city Councilman Dan Cohen, a representative from Verizon and technology nonprofit 3 Rivers Connect. The class is tweaking the report before making it widely available.

There are trade-offs to blanketing the city with Wi-Fi, Dr. Peha said. 'Some parts oft he city are probably profitable' for a Wi-Fi provider but to bring Wi-Fi to the whole city would require additional financial resources, he said.
This is what I've been saying all along. The effort to make the city covered with robust wi-fi is going to present some places where there will be profits and other places where there will be losses. Downtown's might and density is a cherry. One should NOT give away the cherry of the region. The cherry needs to go out as the rest of the city gets coverage.

The Pgh Downtown Partnership picked the cherry in the wi-fi landscape. The next move for city-wide wi-fi is stalled. No doubt: "The wi-fi to the whole city would require additional financial resource." Darn you!

I still think that the downtown wi-fi plan that was to hatch by the All-Star Game (but didn't come on time) was a bad deal for the entire city. I am proven correct -- still.

I'd love to see the report and give it my serious feedback. It might be better to have me address it with my sharp insights and skeptical peer-review, before it goes out to the world.

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