RealTime IT News

Municipal Broadband: Resistance is Futile

Broadband networks offered or facilitated by municipalities are going to become the norm, not the exception, according to analyst Pam Duffey with visiongain.

The London, England-based company's new report, "Municipal Broadband Networks: Market impact and implications, 2006-2011" talks about the facts — there 400 cities and regions thinking about installing wireless broadband networks across the globe, and 100 that are actually doing it, 40 of which are in the United States — and makes the prediction that the numbers will double this year.

Legal opposition in some states notwithstanding, Duffey says in a statement, "We believe resistance toward Muni networks is futile." She says the idea that a municipality should provide the network, or at least the means for widespread broadband, is quickly becoming not just an option but a duty.

"By 2010/2011," says Duffey, "we believe the majority of cities and townships in the US will have a municipal wireless network in place, and the focus then will be on uniting them into a seamless, if not centralized, national network." Many, she says, will offer wireless broadband service as a utility along with gas, electricity and water.

Of course, opposition will continue, especially when the prediction includes loss of money for incumbent carriers, who could lose money over things like fees for gaming. Issues in deployment could easily include the lack of experience cities have regarding such technologies, though that could be mitigated by opening up access to third parties for hardware deployment on city-owned poles and buildings, and to ISPs to provide services. Providers that are smart can take advantage of the opportunities of muni-wireless, rather than try to fight such deployments up front.

The 137-page report is out now, and sells for £1,499.