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Wednesday, July 13, 2005

MuniWireless White Paper Undermines Muni Wireless
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MuniWireless.com has posted a report on Broadband Strategies for Municipalities. The author appears to work for a broadband design and consulting firm. It begins with the generic muni argument: 1. Induce fear of your townsfolk being left behind and 2. Make a general claim that broadband is a public good.

The paper then goes on to advocate public-private partnerships using a hybrid network with a mix of fiber, copper, wireless, and BPL (if proven). Although these hybrid networks are guaranteed to generate "far greater revenue streams than current cable and telecom combined," somehow private firms are unable to get financing in capital markets for them without collateral. Enter the need for the assistance of municipal governments: "They are, for the most part, bureaucratic dinosaurs who either cannot or will not re-evaluate how they have been doing things for so many years." Nope, the author is not describing local government officials here, but those far-more bureaucratic and far-less nimble profit maximizers at private corporations.

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the white paper are the arguments it presents against wireless broadband on a stand-alone basis - arguments which, I assume, would cause fits for the folks at MuniWireless.com if they were presented in this space. So, I'll wrap up by liberally quoting from their sanctioned report. Wireless technologies "change and evolve rapidly" and "do not provide the kind of bandwidth, quality and reliability for [an ultra high-bandwidth] network." Wireless falls "far short of providing true high-speed access for its users, mainly because the large areas and large number of users dilute bandwidth to an extreme." "[A]s a community broadband solution [wireless networks] are often obsolete by the time of installation." And finally, "wireless technologies are not a complete solution for a truly 'future protected' broadband network as they do not deliver the kinds of speeds that will be required eventually - whether 1 year from now or 5 years from now."

posted by @ 10:00 PM | Municipal Ownership

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