by Mike Masnick

WiFi Will Force Telecoms To Change

from the maybe... dept

In typical Nicholas Negroponte fashion he says things that have a grain of truth, but tends to overhype and overpromote possibilities. His latest is saying that 802.11 stuff is going to completely remake how telecom firms operate. While there's some truth to the idea that personalized network hotspots operated by individuals is an interesting and different trend, I think most predictions of such networks wiping out existing telecom infrastructure is largely overhyped. If these types of networks really start to take off, you will see a few things. First is that the incumbent telecom firms will try to block their spread (witness Time Warner's attempt to stop people from sharing their WiFi access). Second is that the firms will try to co-opt the trend (VoiceStream buying MobileStar), and in the process slow its rollout. Eventually, things may move in that direction, but it will be very slow, and won't be nearly as revolutionary as Negroponte makes it out to be. Of course, I wish that telecom firms saw the potential as well, and promoted personal WiFi hotspots, but history has shown that this is unlikely.

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