I wrote last week how Cable TV companies need to become the best ISP. We also need to challenge the wireless providers, we need to use the pole rights we have to build out mesh networks connected to our fiber MAN. If we build a “ubiquitous metro” WAN/MAN and offer that as an add on package for reasonable fee, we should be able to provide a better user experience and ultimately provide a valuable product for the ones that matter the most….. The Customers.
Think about it, any time you want to surf or watch videos on your smart phone, tablet or slab top, and you are not at home, you first start connected on Cellular and then almost always wish there was fast wifi to use. If you do find an open wifi it’s typically slow too. If cable companies planted wifi spots in targeted areas it would be great advertisement. You see examples of this with the cellular providers, excpet the service is slow as the up-link is often only 3G! The cable industry’s version would be superior as the back haul would be fiber/Cable modem and the user experience would be great! Authentication should be completed via MAC address or a very simple authentication proxy. Even consider giving slower speeds away and sticking floating banners ads or similar.
It really doesn’t have to be incredibly robust, but it does need to be located in the popular and heavy traffic-ed areas. This network could also have some interesting side benefits. Imagine having this blanket a subdivision….Imagine the gas/water and electric meters having wireless readings. Talk about on demand pricing and instant meter readings. Imagine the parks having Video Cameras, or the family Dog having a transponder for location tracking, or weird little community electric cars with mobile advertising and google map tracking. One could brain storm on this some, just take everything you wanted to do with a 3G/4G connection but was too slow.
Some might say it’s already too late to do this, and I don’t completely disagree. The end result may be a mix of wifi in heavy populated locations and a teaming up with cell providers where the cable companies can “host” or provide the connectivity and pole space to localized 4G/WiMAX radios.
In 1997 a friend David Gibbs said “High Speed Internet will become a birthright”. That’s about the case today, It’s going to be like providing street lights, or air, every device will need it and everything will use it. Most wont care who or how, just as long as it’s good. Kinda like the road. Most don’t know the how, why or who, it’s just there to be used and they are happy.
If you live in a metropolitan area and are of average income, your Kids don’t know anything but internet connected devices and don’t know ‘why’ the Internet is fast at home but is slow at the coffee shops or on the smart phone. Let fix that, and build Mesh networks that blanket Schools, Public Places and events and after hour locations. Just think, everyone using **your cable internet company here** up link. Sooo many eyes happy with your company.
Give fast internet away at the public places now and the money will follow, you will become the De facto provider for paying customers that want fast internet at home or work.
Next I’ll comment on the “cloud” and how the cable industry can participate. I have a lot of experience with VMware and clusters in the enterprise. However I recently was given the opportunity to become inspired and have worked with Amazon’s AWS, EC2, VCP etc. As we can provide the best connectivity between buildings and MANs… it’s not a far jump to provide the best connectivity to regional “cloud” resources. The future does not include servers in every business’ office.