One of the biggest pieces of news in the tech world today is the FCC’s auction of the 700MHZ spectrum. I won’t go into background - you can get that from the wonderful TechRepublic article I just read, “Sanity Check: The 700 MHz auction will tip the wireless balance, but in which direction?”. The author makes some very good points. The bottom line is that 700MHz has the capability to flat-out revolutionize mobile communications in the US. Not only does it hold the possibility for a truly open network, where devices and applications are carrier-neutral, but it had bandwidth and geographical coverage possibilities that are revolutionary here in the US. With the right driving force, 700 MHz could begin replacing cellular service altogether, with people simply buying mobile bandwidth and handsets that are natively VoIP-capable.
The 700 MHz spectrum has endless possibilities. It has the possibility of revolutionizing mobile communications in the US and, most importantly, letting us catch up with the rest of the world.
On the topic of broadband, I also read another interesting article from ComputerWorld - “Keeping a lid on broadband“. Thanks to my involvement with Sun as a Campus Ambassador for Rutgers, I’ve been in contact with other CA’s across the world, not to mention many people involved in the OpenSolaris project. Here in New Jersey, I have about 5Mb broadband to my home and apartment (5 Mb down / 2 Mb up). Download rates rarely peak over 700 Kb. I was flat-out amazed, when speaking with CAs from Japan, to learn that they have connections well over 50Mb, and even 100Mb (!!!) to their homes, and they pay LESS than I do!
While the broadband revolution has swept into urban and suburban American homes, for the most part consumers are ignorant of the state of broadband outside of the US. People remember 56k, and know that what they have now is a lot better. How did the American public allow the telephone/cable comapanies to force us into a position where we pay more than citizens of almost any other developed nation for service that is orders of magnitude slower, and markedly less reliable, than anyone else?
I won’t touch on the topic of Net Neutrality - for me, one of the most important current issues - aside from my anger at the thought that one day, this blog (and the rest of my web presence) may disappear simply because I don’t want to pay money to an unknown third party. But I must raise the question, “what has happened to the rights of communications customers in America, and how have we let our rights be ignored for so long?”
PS - If you’re interested, RCR Wireless has ongoing coverage of the 700 MHz auction.