Email Delivery

Receive new posts as email.

Email address

Syndicate this site

RSS | Atom


About This Site
Contact Us
Privacy Policy


November 2010
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Stories by Category

Basics :: Basics
Casting :: Casting Listen In Podcasts Videocasts
Culture :: Culture Hacking
Deals :: Deals
Future :: Future
Hardware :: Hardware Adapters Appliances Chips Consumer Electronics Gaming Home Entertainment Music Photography Video Gadgets Mesh Monitoring and Testing PDAs Phones Smartphones
Industry :: Industry Conferences Financial Free Health Legal Research Vendor analysis
International :: International
Media :: Media Locally cached Streaming
Metro-Scale Networks :: Metro-Scale Networks Community Networking Municipal
Network Types :: Network Types Broadband Wireless Cellular 2.5G and 3G 4G Power Line Satellite
News :: News Mainstream Media
Politics :: Politics Regulation Sock Puppets
Schedules :: Schedules
Security :: Security 802.1X
Site Specific :: Site Specific Administrative Detail April Fool's Blogging Book review Cluelessness Guest Commentary History Humor Self-Promotion Unique Wee-Fi Who's Hot Today?
Software :: Software Open Source
Spectrum :: Spectrum 60 GHz
Standards :: Standards 802.11a 802.11ac 802.11ad 802.11e 802.11g 802.11n 802.20 Bluetooth MIMO UWB WiGig WiMAX ZigBee
Transportation and Lodging :: Transportation and Lodging Air Travel Aquatic Commuting Hotels Rails
Unclassified :: Unclassified
Vertical Markets :: Vertical Markets Academia Enterprise WLAN Switches Home Hot Spot Aggregators Hot Spot Advertising Road Warrior Roaming Libraries Location Medical Public Safety Residential Rural SOHO Small-Medium Sized Business Universities Utilities wISP
Voice :: Voice


November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | October 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008 | February 2008 | January 2008 | December 2007 | November 2007 | October 2007 | September 2007 | August 2007 | July 2007 | June 2007 | May 2007 | April 2007 | March 2007 | February 2007 | January 2007 | December 2006 | November 2006 | October 2006 | September 2006 | August 2006 | July 2006 | June 2006 | May 2006 | April 2006 | March 2006 | February 2006 | January 2006 | December 2005 | November 2005 | October 2005 | September 2005 | August 2005 | July 2005 | June 2005 | May 2005 | April 2005 | March 2005 | February 2005 | January 2005 | December 2004 | November 2004 | October 2004 | September 2004 | August 2004 | July 2004 | June 2004 | May 2004 | April 2004 | March 2004 | February 2004 | January 2004 | December 2003 | November 2003 | October 2003 | September 2003 | August 2003 | July 2003 | June 2003 | May 2003 | April 2003 | March 2003 | February 2003 | January 2003 | December 2002 | November 2002 | October 2002 | September 2002 | August 2002 | July 2002 | June 2002 | May 2002 | April 2002 | March 2002 | February 2002 | January 2002 | December 2001 | November 2001 | October 2001 | September 2001 | August 2001 | July 2001 | June 2001 | May 2001 | April 2001 |

Recent Entries

In-Flight Wi-Fi and In-Flight Bombs
Can WPA Protect against Firesheep on Same Network?
Southwest Sets In-Flight Wi-Fi at $5
Eye-Fi Adds a View for Web Access
Firesheep Makes Sidejacking Easy
Wi-Fi Direct Certification Starts
Decaf on the Starbucks Digital Network
Google Did Snag Passwords
WiMax and LTE Not Technically 4G by ITU Standards
AT&T Wi-Fi Connections Keep High Growth with Free Service

Site Philosophy

This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator. Part of the FM Tech advertising network.


Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2010 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.

Powered by
Movable Type

« Wireless Hack Could Threaten Windows, Macs | Main | Building-Fi »

August 2, 2006

Muni Fiber to KO Muni Wi-Fi?

No: The Register asks whether fiber would trump Wi-Fi in municipal plans. The answer is clearly no, because fiber serves backbones and businesses and incumbents. Wi-Fi serves end users. We'll likely see more plans in which fiber is a component of a Wi-Fi build out, such as Boston's recently released task force report recommending a fiber ring buildout.

In areas with dark fiber owned by companies that are willing to lease the strands, building a fiber network might require only small amounts of new trenching and line laying; that's apparently the case in Boston, and might be the case here in Seattle, where a fiber RFI is out with a lot of interest expressed. (For Seattle, Wi-Fi is an optional extra in the plan.)

Berkeley's IT director describes Wi-Fi as "cheap and quick" versus fiber's "expensive and long term" and that is precisely the tradeoff (as noted to the San Francisco Chronicle). He might add that there's another tradeoff. Fiber to the home has to be built with money raised from residents, unless a private telecom like Verizon puts its dollars in. (Verizon is building out FTTH on a massive scale, but they don't commit to every home in a city, which is what a municipality would want.)

Wi-Fi, at the moment, can be had for "free," in the sense that no city expenditures have to be put in place to get EarthLink, MobilePro, or MetroFi to build a network for you, to name the three leading firms. The companies will only come into areas they think they can turn a buck, and the first two will charge residents for access. So that's a compelling part of Wi-Fi at the moment.

The Register quotes the IT director from the director's notes (but provides no link to these notes) that there's no successful economic model for running municipal Wi-Fi networks. That might be a very specific comment, in that there's been no time yet to see what models might work or fail.

Fiber to the home is infinitely preferable to Wi-Fi to the home, and I can get executives off the record in every kind of wire and wireless industry to admit that. However, the cost is so prohibitive, that Wi-Fi becomes a "best worst" alternative. It's far better than dial-up, and is the only reasonably cost-effective way to spread mass mobile access. Cell data networks work well, but are too expensive for average users and most small businesses (unless a very few employees have access), and their uplink speeds are still far too slow. (There should be no debate about how well mobile, outdoor Wi-Fi networks can work at a metro-scale; the indoor use is still where there's FUD and reasonable arguments to be made.)

Fiber is a large-scale infrastructure item that can benefit a city or town's competitiveness regardless of what kind of entity installs it because when tied in with very long-haul fiber, it allows even the remotest town to engage in the global economy. Fiber lines are starting to be laid in quite rural areas, because there's a connection between lower livable wages and the ability to bring in thousands of phone lines for companies that want to keep customer service or ordering operations in the U.S. (Where I once lived in Maine, MBNA America brought in thousands of jobs that paid awfully well compared to most local alternatives. Fiber was the key there, too.)



I agree with you that Fiber is the key to long-term broadband connectivity. Some municipalities are finding out what I said about the old real estate adage of "Location, Location, Location" having to be updated to "Location, Location, Connectivity" to be very true for their long-term and sometimes even short-term survivability. FTTH needs to replace CTTD (Copper To The Door)


Good piece as always. However, I would not characterize wi-fi as an "optional extra" in Seattle's plans. Seattle views wi-fi and FTTH as complementary technologies that will provide the pervasive connectivity it envisions.

[Editor's note: The report characterizes it this way, "While the focus of the RFI is on fiber to the premises, we encourage proponents to discuss whether they envision a wireless component such as Wi-Fi to serve as a complement to a FTTP network."

If Seattle views Wi-Fi in that manner, the RFI doesn't encourage it and the early names looking at the RFI are mostly fiber specialists--who could, of course, hire out to Wi-Fi specialists.--gf]