Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Wet Dreams Die Hard: WiMAX Good Enough For Sock Puppets

It's not easy posing as an authoritative obstructionist in these days of the Internet and all the information that it leads one to. No, things were easier back in the days of pony express, telegraph wires and snail mail. Why it could be months — maybe years — before information revealing thauthoritativeve voice to be nothing more than just that — a voice with little or no substance behind it. Think "Wizard of Oz."

The various iterations and combinations of Sock Puppets of the Incumbents have been vociferous in their insistence that "wireless" is a preferred mode of connectivity; that LUS wants to spend a bunch of money on fiber when wireless is/was going to displace fiber. This argument conveniently overlooks the fact that wireless is dependent on fiber for robustness.

Well, it was part of the 'say anything' mindset that has gripped the opponents of this project since their first appearance.

The latest version of the "good enough for sock puppets" argument is that WiMAX wireless technology might offer some semblance of an alternative to fiber.

As usual, it's hogwash dressed up to look like informed opinion.

The folks at eWeek magazine did a pretty thorough job of trashing the latest wet dream of the sock puppets with a May 30, 2005 article entitled "Wagering on WiMAX."

The article details a WiMAX demo conducted by Intel that, uh, didn't use WiMAX. Sort of like Microsoft using Apple computers simulateate the next generation X-Box, but I digress.

Here are a couple of relevant paragraphs:
For the past two years, the nascent WiMax technology has been something of a broadband media darling, promising versions that would offer both a last-mile substitution for a land-line Internet connection and a muscled-up version of Wi-Fi.

But now, even WiMax proponents are saying fixed-wireless flavors of the technology are best suited for Third World countries rather than the United States. As for the much-hyped mobile version of WiMax, there is still no standard, and, by the time products appear, it will face stiff competition from emerging third-generation cellular technologies.

Let's make clear what we're talking about here: WiMAX and these next generation wireless technologies are alternatives to DSL service! DSL! That is, speeds in the hundreds of kilobits per second.

Then there's this quote:

"My hope for WiMax relates to rural areas," said Kevin Wilson, product line manager for desktop hardware at Duke Energy Corp., in Charlotte, N.C., and an eWEEK Corporate Partner. "I have personally talked to a half-dozen people in my company that live out of reach of DSL [and] cable and are searching for connections to work from home."
Then, there's this quote Daniel Ellis, chief technology officer of PenTeleData, an ISP in Palmerton, PA, describing a recent WiMax presentation given by Intel in Pennsylvania :

"The presentation made it fairly clear that WiMax's strong points for service providers were in areas that lacked existing broadband access—developing countries, rural areas that do not have access and cities that have oversubscribed areas where broadband is not available," Ellis said.

It's easy to see why the Sock Puppets are so enamored with this technology — because DSL speed network connectivity is currently offered by the incumbents and, as experience has shown, the ideological blinders that the Sock Puppets wear (their version of Mouse Ears?) require them to say that inferior, higher-priced services of incumbents are far superior to anything that community-owned LUS might propose.

By the way, one way to tell the difference between a Sock Puppet and an employees of the incumbents is that the employees will tell you that inferior, higher-priced services are the "functional equivalent" of (not superior to) the fiber network we'll have the opportunity to give LUS the permission to build.

A delusion by any other name is still a delusion.

So, let's step back and examine the thread of thinking guiding those on the far side of this issue.

The Sock Puppets argue that, instead of fiber, Lafayette should deploy a technology better suited for Third World use or for use in rural counties where already inadequate DSL and cable modem services do not reach.

This project and this referendum are about giving Lafayette an economic infrastructure upon which we can grow a new era of prosperity. You can't get there by mimicking Third World countries.

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