This time, it's Verizon Wireless, a subsidiary of the phone giant, which says that Wi-Fi doesn't work over areas: The Austin Business Journal reports on Verizon Wireless's interesting timing in upgrading service in the Texas Capitol. It's interesting that they choose this moment for a massive improvement in voice and data service--including EVDO upgrades--when the legislature has a pro-incumbent, anti-municipal, anti-public/private partnership bill in front of it.
The article doesn't mention who paid for this upgrade; it sounds like Verizon Wireless did as part of their routine infrastructure improvements. But still--please. There are no coincidences in coordinated lobbying efforts.
A spokesperson for Verizon explains that the new "broadband" service will be everywhere.
"It's different than Wi-Fi. With Wi-Fi, you're limited to one spot. Broadband access allows you access anywhere the service is offered, which in this case, is throughout the entire building."
Uh, yeah, maybe you need to read an article or two about how SBC and Cingular are going to eat your lunch in the data game through integration of VoIP, DSL, 3G, and Wi-Fi? Or possibly visit La Defense in Paris where they have Wi-Fi, strangely, throughout the entire massive building. Or possibly you could visit Qualcomm's headquarters in which they freely admit that Wi-Fi available...throughout their entire campus.
How exciting to have "broadband" of a few hundred kilobits per second everywhere, shared among thousands of people. How interesting to note that you have to add special equipment in order to provide full-speed interior coverage with EVDO.
If this is Verizon Wireless's Wi-Fi plan, dissing it through inaccurate statements that misrepresent it, SBC and Cingular are going to mop the floor with them on the data side. They've just admitted that EVDO doesn't work well in interior spaces, haven't they?
We already knew that, but now they're stating that they have no idea how Wi-Fi deployments work, either. Worse, they even point out EVDO's big disadvantage: "users must be Verizon Wireless customers to access the service." That's right: instead of a network that the state of Texas owns and operates and provides "free" access to at megabits per second for its staff and legislators, each user must have a laptop and a PC card (hundreds of dollars) and a subscription.
Is anyone going to complain that taxpayer money is going to Verizon instead of an internal information technology department in the state that could offer higher bandwidth at enormously lower cost and deliver voice over IP (oops, competes with Verizon) as well as streaming video and audio? There's some free public Wi-Fi available (courtesy Austin Wireless City Project), but it's only in select rooms.
I'll stop being irate now.