Saturday, April 29, 2006

Wireless in Lafayette

Don't miss the Advocate article on wireless technologies that keyed off TechSouth events. The upfront part of the story reviews the positions of major players Earthlink and Tropos and their positions are predictable from their positions in the market--but interesting nonetheless.

However the bits of most interest to locals isn't to be found unless you persist beyond the opening paragraphs. Toward the end of the story the issue of Lafayette's wireless network appears:

Durel has said before that the LUS project — while bringing high-speed connections to homes and business over fiber-optic cable — could also include a widespread wireless component.

While no decision has been made, especially given the hurdles of lawsuits LUS has faced in the last year, wireless remains an option, Durel said.

Lafayette officials have spoken with vendors who deal in wireless technology, but are still looking at all possibilities — whether it’s all provided by the public, all private or a partnership, Durel said.

Wireless is great for enabling mobility and convenience, Durel said.

LUS’ fiber-network would also allow for future developments of applications in phone, cable and high-speed Internet that need a great deal of bandwidth, Durel said.

Lafayette officials are in lock-down mode on the wireless issue and have been long before the recent deals were cut with BellSouth and Cox. They understandably don't want to seem to court more trouble wih the incumbents until any issues with the bonds for the current project are settled. But, frankly, the incumbents already understand Lafayette's ambitions and staying mum about the more exciting possibilities in public won't lessen their anxieties. It does, however, dull public support--and for my money we should be talking about the exciting possibilities that come from the intersection of big broadband, wireless, and local control. A lot of supporters think that there's nothing much new on the horizon and that its all a matter of waiting for the fiber to come and getting over or around roadblocks. But there's a lot more to talk about and plan for than that.

Some lagniappe: Vonage Offers VoIP Mobile-Phone Calls in the UK and Voice over Wi-Fi: cheap, reliable calling uloved by mobile operators

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