Comcast's head says they'll copycat Verizon if they need to; nervous about unlicensed spectrum: In a typically monolithic response to competition, cable provider Comcast says that if Verizon's move takes off as a means to bring in and retain DSL customers, they might use their coax base to distribute Wi-Fi to their users as well.
Unfortunately, the company head needs to review how people use the service and how they could offer very low-cost methods to meet his quite anxious concerns. The unlicensed nature seems to bother him because he can't control it. But then he pops out this remark: ''We tend to recommend to customers that they limit themselves to nonconfidential, nonproprietary'' Net traffic while using a hot spot, and in particular that they not do online shopping that involves transmitting a credit card number, Otterbeck said.
First off, virtually all Web sites that accept credit card numbers -- all smart ones -- use SSL security for the transaction, which is not currently breakable without some real elbow grease and time; if you're using 128-bit SSL, it's not breakable at all.
Secondly, the job of an ISP thinking about Wi-Fi is to help customers with security: Verizon and Comcast and others should offer the Boingo solution: VPN to the NOC, or a virtual private network client that allows arbitrary connections to the NOC (network operations center) of the ISP. This provides security comparable to using an office LAN or dial-up connection. It's not end-to-end, but it's what the vast majority of non-corporate users need, and it's not expensive to provide.