THE TIME TO HEED IS NIGH
The Washington Monthly has a great piece this Sunday, titled "Let there be Wi-Fi",
that again reiterates how errant we are as a nation in our broadband
priorities, particularly with regards with spectrum regulation. As I mentioned in a post back last May:
"Spectrum regulation made sense when spectrum was truly scarce due to the limitations of our technology, but increasingly is abundant as those limitations are overcome."
As The Washington Monthly article posits:
"Congress could boost the speed and reliability of community wireless networks by making available more “unlicensed spectrum”—those portions of the public airwaves not exclusively reserved for government or commercial use. Existing “Wi-Fi” networks operate in “junk bands” cluttered with signals from cordless phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors and other consumer devices. At lower frequencies–like in the television band—signals travel farther and can go through walls, trees and mountains.
Opening up some of this spectrum would make Community Internet systems much faster and cheaper to deploy, allowing a new generation of broadband entrepreneurs to enter the market. The broadcasters are about to return a sizable chunk of spectrum as part of the digital television transition, a portion of which could be reserved for Community Internet if Congress doesn't auction it all off to the cell phone companies.
Another option would be to reallocate vast, unused “white spaces” between TV channels for wireless broadband. Either way, more “unlicensed spectrum” is the key to making universal, super-fast broadband for $10 a month a reality."
Warner Crocker has a good post on this article as well, arguing:
"Let's face it, all of the hype about wireless media streaming is fantastic but the pipeline is going to need to get a lot bigger to make that reality really come true."
A lot of issues tend to get over-hyped as being "critical" for the global competitiveness and economic good of the country, by pundits and pseudo-pundits (like yours truly) as we blog day in and day out about things technology trends.
This one, I think does stand above them all. Read the WM article in full if you're not familiar with the issue. We're not crying wolf vainly this time.