The town of Grand Haven, Mich. (pop. 12,000) has turned on a Wi-Fi service that reaches everywhere in the city . Residents can sign up for broadband service for $20 a month, care of local service provider Ottawa Wireless. It's a slow version of broadband ?? 256 kpbs downloads for the $20 service ?? but it's universally available, which isn't a bad thing. It's certainly a good for putting competitive pressure on the local cable company and telco.
Ma Bell and other large phone companies are pulling out of the local phone service market (and the DSL market too) following recent FCC rulings and the resulting higher prices for network access from the Bells. But help is on the way. The Meta Group says WiMax will give competing companies a viable path to offer voice and broadband services beginning in 2006. Capital costs per customer will be about $240 then, and drop to about $80 in 2008.
Of course, by that time, Verizon and SBC will have fiber optics to millions of homes, and Cox and Comcast will … Read more
The last few weeks have seen a host of announced and unannounced speed hikes for cable modem users. Cox confirmed today that its 2 million $40 customers are now getting 4 mbps downloads, up from 3 mbps. Broadband Reports readers are keeping a close eye on the various experiments, and are seeing especially high rates in Canada ?? even up to 10 mpbs in places.
Let us know what you're seeing.
The International Olympics Committee is allowing more than a dozen broadcasters to show video of the Athens games online and on video cell phones, says the AP. But there's a catch, designed to protect those lucrative broadcasting contracts. It can only be offered in the company's home country, with restrictions in place to block foreigners from tapping in.
In the U.S., that means no live broadcasts online, although there will be delayed highlights posted by NBC. Unless, of course, some peer-to-peer type figures out a way around the restrictions. That would never happen.
Want all the HDTV you can eat? CommsDesign has a primer on the new gigabit PON (passive optical networking) that engineering types are playing with. It's faster than today's fiber optics standards, providing up to 2.5 gbps of download speed.
It's $500 and only works with other phones like it, but Packet8 is selling a Net-based videophone to supplement its ordinary Net telephone service.
The company offers very helpful "videophone etiquette" to avoid misunderstandings. So remember, never call before 10 am or after 10 pm (except on Christmas, of course), never wear stripes or white, and be sure to introduce everyone that's in the room with you.
David Foster Wallace told the best future history of videophones' rise and fall in Infinite Jest. In summary: People loved them, then realized they looked grungy, so started dressing … Read more
Associated Press has a story on Acacia Research, the company that says it has a patent on on-demand streaming media technology, approaching colleges for licenses. The Chronicle of Higher Education has been covering the approach to schools for a while.
A lot of companies, from Disney on down, have been settling with Acacia. The company started with online porn sites, but now is seeking licenses from virtually all Web streaming media companies, cable and satellite TV networks, and businesses that use intranet video. Comcast has said it is fighting Acacia's patent claims, and that might be where the issue … Read more
I've always had an aversion to paying for broadband in hotel rooms. Maybe it's the $5 bag of honey nuts or the $15 hamburgers that scares me away.
But that hasn't tempered hotel chains from tapping a blossoming business. In 2003, there were 5,207 hotel properties with broadband access, according to a study by In-Stat/MDR. That number will jump to 26,828 by 2008 and generate about $1.8 billion in revenue, up from the $428 expected this year.
That's got to be a more lucrative business than mini-bar services.
So I decided to … Read more
A Broadband Reports forum reader has posted a copy of what looks like the end-user's operating manual for Verizon's new Fios fiber optic service. No surprises, but it does contain a few interesting details. The service is run off a home's power source, so if there's a blackout, battery power is necessary. That means that if you're using it for your phone service, the phone dies in 8 hours. If you live in earthquake-prone California, you might want to have a cell phone.