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The Internet Networking Wireless Networking

Open Spectrum Does Not Mean Free Internet 60

Posted by timothy
from the floodgates-in-the-desert dept.
CowboyRobot writes "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski recently proposed making RF spectrum publicly available, and many in the media (including the Washington Post) have been mistakenly conflating open access to WiFi signal with free Internet access; anyone can put up a wireless access point but that doesn't give them access to the Internet. The proposal will probably mean more attempts at providing free Internet access to specific neighborhoods or municipalities, but as Larry Seltzer at NetworkComputing points out, these programs also usually forget that access to signal is not the same as access to the Internet. After getting the funding to wire a city, these isn't money left to pay for the actual bandwidth usage."
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Open Spectrum Does Not Mean Free Internet

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  • by foniksonik (573572) on Monday February 11, 2013 @09:42AM (#42858057) Homepage Journal

    If the goal is to connect together people then access to "the Internet" is not necessary. Communities could roll their own network, their own servers and address space. All you need is a DNS server to bind it all together (or a P2P system). There would be many benefits to this. However it would not be the same as accessing the Internet.

    OTOH a few communities could peer up, then a few more, etc etc. until everyone was connected. The problem would be interconnects. It would be slow without dedicated fibre and switches to route traffic from eg Atlanta to LA. So you end up needing the same infrastructure we have today. May as well just nationalize it all at that point (would amount to the same thing).

    A hybrid approach could work. Community MLANs for local stuff, local caches of a ton of content and individual access plans to get out of the MLAN. ISPs go away but the big pipes are still private utilities. Content cartels would still be in power but would only control access to their content rather than everything. People and businesses could host their own content/services or collocate at the local cacheing data center. The cacheing (a la Akamai) would allow the self hosting to work (make it fast even if the origin is a desktop PC) and would be peered, so synced with other community caches. This all would require a lot of work. Could take a decade to reach critical mass (or could only take a few years if adoption was coordinated and fully budgeted).

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