Before moving to Washington last week I lived in New Jersey just over the river from Philadelphia so I have been hearing about this saga for awhile, but yesterday the city formally announced it would be building its own broadband wireless network across the entire city.
As you can image when this was first proposed some time ago companies such as Verizon when nuts. I have had Comcast for my ISP for years now, but the thought of a city building out the infrastructure and wholesaling it so that the cost is $10 to $20 is an interesting idea. DSL and Cable have been going at it for some time but the inovation has not been as fast as some one like, nor has the price dropped that much over the years. The entry of a city might jump start this process.
While the speed is only 1Mbs, not the 3 to 5 you get from DSL or Cable, it prices in line with straight dial up at 56K. I would worry more if I was AOL then if I was Comcast.
The idea of allowing those in lower income brackets to get broadband access is noble and needed, but one a more selfish level the thought of being able to have a connection anywhere in the city is amazing. As I guy that has traveled a lot I can tell you the pain of having to drive around looking for a Starbucks or Borders to get a connection during the day.
Image the possibility if this idea works and other cities and areas follow. Image the applications and system that could be built if you could assume to a high degree of certainty that a 1Mbs (or above) wireless connection was available. While cellular wireless coverage is available today, I have always been an WiFi kind of guy. Why not, it is built into most laptops today.