I got a very nice email from Christopher Mitchell who is with the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) which is a non-profit that “provides technical assistance and information to city and state governments, citizen organizations and industry”. The report give a great overview of the different technologies that are available for municipal broadband deployment and can be seen at:
I sent Mr. Mitchell back the comments below on this report:
Much like other reports in this area, it sees WiFi as a solution that I have always had grave doubts about. You can see my “report” concerning this at:
It really comes down to the issue that these deployments on unlicensed bands (i.e. ISM bands) can’t guarantee an uptime for the service due to interference from other users on the bands. There is also the fact that 802.11 really has very poor interference handling.
The ILSR report says that wireless is needed for mobility. I really don’t think there is as much of a need for a municipality to address this. There area a number of other companies that are already addressing this and, as I see it, the real need for broadband is in the home and business. With that, mobility can be address a couple of different ways. First off cell phone providers do this pretty well for outdoor use. For indoor deployments, that really has be handled by the building owners or tenets. Penetrating walls at any frequency and especially at 2.4 and 5.8 GHz is very difficult.
I do strongly support fiber deployment and it being owned by the local government. The last mile is where 90% of the cost in broadband deployment is. Most of this is artificially high as there is only one or two carriers for the last mile in an area. If we can have a municipal deployment then any Mom-and-Pop through existing incumbent can be on equal footing for providing services to an area. We will see competition at that point.
As no one company can the justification of a city wide fiber deployment, it is up to the city to make this happen.
I have been involved in actively supporting this idea for some time with the city of San Francisco. As such I have provided comments and have worked with the city of SF that outlines a basic working and financial model for the city to deploy fiber.
At this point, I think most cities have a much better and more realistic view of how the technology works, we just need to bring more material to them to justify how municipal broadband will financially work for a city.