Arnold Kling  

The Last Mile will be Wireless

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The Wall Street Journal reports,


Google Inc. unveiled the latest such effort Friday with a proposal to provide free, wireless high-speed Internet access in the city of San Francisco. The service would allow users to bypass fee-based connections of cable and local phone companies in favor of wireless links...

"I believe that free voice is going to be ubiquitous not in 10 years; within two or three years," News Corp.'s Rupert Murdoch told a Goldman Sachs investor conference last month.


This is consistent with what I wrote over three years ago.

Moore's Law ultimately will favor shared-spectrum wireless as the solution for last mile connectivity. Today, I am typing this out on my porch, using a laptop that connects wirelessly to a router in my basement, which in turn connects to the local phone company by DSL. My prediction is that eventually I will skip the DSL part, and instead my wireless connection will go to a local wireless network of some sort, and then ultimately to a transmitter on the Internet backbone. The communication network will have a fiber skeleton and a wireless skin. Telephone land lines will be superfluous.

For me, the best part of not having to pay for phone service would be not having all those random taxes on my phone bill.


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COMMENTS (5 to date)
Robert Speirs writes:

Now if they could only do something about those darn electric utilities. How about power and internet service over water pipes? Shocking! Tesla envisioned wireless power transmission. I'm sure he'd be disappointed to know it hadn't happened yet.

Arnold Kriegbaum writes:

I concur with the disdain for the plethora of small taxes on the phone bill. I also think that the easy solutions will win, and Arnold's (and Google's) Fiber-to-Wireless conception is less complicated than other solutions.

Will we melt from all the non-ionizing radiation? ;-)

I was unable to see the WSJ article, being a poor student I don't have a subscription. Is the wireless access being provided COMPLETELY free (seems unlikely) or is their public funding, or ads?

JC Ernhart writes:

Amen on those abusive taxes! I have a $90 monthly phone of which a full 32% is tax related. Good God!

Richard, I'm under the impression it will be "free"... however, the definition of free, when governments are involved in negotiating the formal "local deal for free internet" may come at the price of being left with only one legal franchise provider for service, not unlike cable.

I wonder if free service will be chalk full of artery clogging advertising, and no other alternatives but the one legal free provider.

We shall see.. But if anyone can screw it up, it is politicians looking for extra $$ and more clout.

simon writes:

The real news is that all the elite liberal policy wonks claiming that the US was losing its advantage to those countries with centralized decision making were dead wrong. We will likely get it for “free” versus paying for it as a future debt liability. Again the market trumps policy wonks and politicians.

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