Posted on November 28, 2011
Today’s podcast is a twenty-five minute interview with Ulik Broida who is the Vice President of Marketing at Israel-based Wavion, which is a subsidiary of wireless equipment maker, Alvarion. Wavion specializes in Wi-Fi access points designed for outdoor use.
Earlier this month the senior founder at Trilogy Partnership disclosed that Steve Jobs was originally seriously considering whether Apple could build a nationwide Wi-Fi network for the iPhone. Since Wi-Fi spectrum is unlicensed Apple could build its own network thereby avoiding the possibility that the iPhone user experience would be dependent upon cellular carriers. Presumably, with the iPad on the drawing board, Jobs could see that much of Apple’s future growth would depend upon the availability of reliable wireless service at reasonable fees.
According to Trilogy’s John Stanton, who spent a lot of time with Jobs during iPhone gestation, “(Jobs) wanted to replace carriers. He and I spent a lot of time examining whether a new carrier could be created synthetically with a national Wi-Fi network using unlicensed spectrum.” Jobs eventually partnered with AT&T, partly because the carrier agreed to subsidize the iPhone subscriber costs. Nonetheless, Stanton concluded, “If I were a carrier, I’d be concerned about the dramatic power shift that occurred.” Read more…
Posted on November 22, 2011
Today’s Inside Digital Media podcast is a 32-minute audio interview with Nathan Stooke who is the owner of WisperISP, The company was launched eight years ago with a single business subscriber and now has about 3,500, mostly on the Illinois side of St. Louis. Earlier 35-year-old Nathan owned a company that did computer programming for the Coast Guard.
There are two reasons for interviewing Nathan. First, I wanted to learn whether the traditionally rural Wireless ISP industry can compete in important city markets like St. Louis. Second, after meeting Nathan at a recent industry conference I felt that he had the ambition and ability to make WisperISP a much bigger company and I wanted to learn more about his plans.
Since WisperISP has only 3,500 subscribers it has not yet demonstrated it can compete in the densely populated confines of St. Louis and its bedroom communities. However, Nathan’s growth has been entirely organic. He has yet to spend any money on advertising or marketing. Traditionally customers “discovered” WisperISP when they couldn’t get reliable broadband Internet access any other way. The satellite option has never been truly competitive in terms of reliability and latency minimization, and subscribers distant from a telephone exchange cannot get satisfactory DSL speeds. Read more…
Posted on November 18, 2011
Today’s podcast is a 30-minute audio interview with Bob Finch who is the founder of SelectSpectrum which is a spectrum broker. Bob matches buyers and sellers of licensed spectrum, much like stock brokers pair-off buyers and sellers of stock.
I interviewed him for two reasons.
One is curiosity about the value of TV station spectrum in anticipation of the first-ever incentive auction that Congress is expected to approve shortly. Second, is to gain a better understanding of how licensed spectrum will become increasingly marketable as the Wireless Internet comes-of-age.
Congress is considering a proposal to grant the FCC authority to enable individual TV stations to sell their licensed channels at auction. There are three objectives. First, is to make more spectrum available to cellular carriers who are anticipated to be the principal buyers. Second, is to generate revenue for the Federal Government by presumably requiring that most of the proceeds go the to U.S. Treasury. Third, again presumably, is to enable selling stations to keep a share of the proceeds for themselves. Read more…
Posted on November 17, 2011
Today’s podcast is a 25-minute audio interview with Josh Garza, who is the founder and CEO of G.A.W. High Speed Internet. His company is a New England based Wireless ISP whose service territory extends from Hartford northward to the Canadian border, covering northern Connecticut, western Massachusetts and Vermont.
G.A.W. is a particularly interesting for a number of reasons.
First, with 30,000 subscribers it is significantly bigger than the typical rural WISP which has only about 1,000 customers.
Second, the company provides innovative wireless services including large area Wi-Fi mesh networks enabling subscribers to move about campus areas and to stay connected to the Internet at much higher speeds than the typical cellular operator provides. A typical example is a condominium or apartment complex. Other examples are shopping areas such as downtown Brattleboro, Vermont. Read more…
Posted on November 16, 2011
On Monday the Chairman of a prominent venture capital firm named Trilogy Partners disclosed that Steve Jobs initially wanted Apple to deploy its own national Wi-Fi network to service the iPhone.
The reasons are precisely those discussed in our blog post six months ago entitled, “Should Apple Become a Wireless ISP?”
According to Trilogy’s John Stanton who spent a lot of time with Jobs during iPhone gestation, “(Jobs) wanted to replace carriers. He and I spent a lot of time examining whether a new carrier could be created synthetically with a national Wi-Fi network using unlicensed spectrum.”
Jobs eventually partnered with AT&T, partly because the carrier agreed to subsidize the cost of an iPhone for subscribers. Nonetheless, Stanton concluded, “If I were a carrier, I’d be concerned about the dramatic shift in power that occurred.” Read more…
Posted on November 11, 2011
Any video on the new iPhone-4s, can simultaneously be displayed on your television. It’s a process known as “mirroring”, and it’s going to fundamentally change how we use our televisions. For example, through-out the day you may sample full length videos that you’d prefer to watch on a TV screen. Perhaps a friend told you about the video and showed you where to find it on the Internet. Perhaps she sent you a link via email. Whatever, the iPhone-4s lets you watch it on either the smartphone screen, or your television.
Here’s how it works.
First, you need an iPhone-4s. (Mirroring also works with an iPad-2 that has the IOS-5 operating system software.) Read more…
Posted on November 8, 2011
The company provides broadband Internet service to 2,500 subscribers in western Nebraska and eastern Wyoming. Instead of connecting subscribers with cable or telephone lines, Vistabeam provides service through its network of fixed wireless base-stations linking to inexpensive transceivers typically mounted on subscriber rooftops. It sort-of echoes an earlier era when television was received that way instead of via cable, fiber, or satellite. In short, Vistabeam is a typical rural Wireless Internet Service Provider.
While the uninitiated may assume Wireless ISP service to be slow and unreliable, Vistabeam is actually competing quite effectively with DSL and cable. The company offers speeds of up to 12 mb/s. As Matt notes, the typical Wireless ISP base station a dozen years ago had a capacity of 1.5 mb/s, whereas stations commonly available today can handle 150 mb/s. As with landline providers, Vistabeam is witnessing a marked increased in Internet Video consumption from YouTube, Hulu, and Netflix, among other sources. Yet its wireless system can handle the increased demands. Read more…
Posted on November 3, 2011
Driving to the YMCA the morning after Halloween for a workout and to drop-off surplus candy, I pondered goals for the remaining work week. Earlier I read the (almost) daily New York Times “Disunion” article coinciding with the four-year Sesquicentennial of the Civil War. It occurred to me that a 150 year-old bureaucratic ghost is haunting the Federal Communications Commission.
One hundred and fifty years ago next month the United States military took deliveries of its first repeating rifles. Manufactured by the Spencer Repeating Rifle Company of Boston, each seven shot weapon could fire at least three-times as many bullets per minute as the most proficient soldier armed with the standard muzzle-loading weapon.
Nonetheless, until the end of the war more than four years later, Union armies standardized on single shot muzzle-loaders like the Springfield and Enfield. By the end of the war only 65,000 Spencers were issued as compared to over a million muzzle-loaders. It was probably the war’s biggest mistake because it unnecessarily prolonged the fighting. Read more…