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The Almighty Buck

AT&T Wireless Drops Fixed Wireless 94

n8twj writes: "According to this story at Internetnews.com, AT&T has decided to graciously bow out of the Fixed Wireless arena. This is a move that strands 47,000 of its customers, displaces its entire fixed wireless division staff and costs the company more than $1 billion." Iridium, Ricochet, and Sprint's ION are now gone or all-but-gone, too -- it's been a bad year for unconventional Internet service customers.
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AT&T Wireless Drops Fixed Wireless

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  • How long before the broadband group gets scrapped too? First excite, then who knows?
    • Re:AT&T Broadband (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Brad Wilson ( 462844 )
      How long before the broadband group gets scrapped too? First excite, then who knows?
      AT&T just reported that they're replacing the head of AT&T Broadband, while simultaneously reporting a loss. I wouldn't be overly pleased if I was one of those people with broadband access right now. I guess Cringley [pbs.org] doesn't seem like such an idiot any more...
  • "Fixed wireless never really found a home at AT&T, however. [...] it was lumped in with AT&T Wireless,
    a company that's had problems of its own since going public."

    Seems like The Mgmt screwed up here. Someone couldn't decide what to do with it...

    ":management: /n./ 1. Corporate power elites
    distinguished primarily by their distance from
    actual productive work and their chronic failure
    to manage (see also {suit}). Spoken derisively,
    as in '*Management* decided that ...'."

    --
    Frist post brought to you by The Management!
  • I think that it was simply a case of bad timing. There are a lot of pressures on the spectrum, and if you cannot show the 'suits' an almost immediate return on investment, they shut you down.

    How many of the so called dot-com bombs were not really failures ? One problem of the way we plan business in the USA is our short-termism.

    In Japan, corporations like sony etc have plans that take in the next 20 years!

    I'm not really surprised that the uptake of these wireless services did not make big $$S. Its a shame, but I expect we will see a similar technology emerge from the ashes.

    • In Japan, corporations like sony etc have plans that take in the next 20 years!

      Yes, but the Sony Plan 2001, which was developed 20 years ago (1981) had us all using Beta and VHS totally phased out.

      Good managers plan in advance and have a long term view. AT & T was built by good management. Unfortunately, they do not have good management now.
    • A very large number of the dot-com bombs were really failures. They were failures because they were set up by people with a short-term aim to live off gullible VC cash for a while.

      The real problem with the wireless world is that it costs megabucks to build the infrastructure, but the stuff it is delivering is only worth toy prices. It's the same with mobile phones. People only buy stuff like this when they can do it out of petty cash.

    • Fixed Wireless, which combined high speed access with telephone services, had worth to AT&T as a hedge against lost market share in LD and in their dial-up ISP Worldnet; it also was meant to stand as a building block in their "all services, any distance" strategy.

      With Wireless spun off, the new company is not interested in the high-speed access market, unless there's immediate profit in it. And there isn't. AWE will do better without it; they surprised the market yesterday by showing some black ink.

      Not directly related, but of interest in how quickly these things can pan out (or wash out), here's Michael Armstrong's ambitious plans for combining AT&T services [scdrg.com] and how it failed. [attinsider.com]

  • Just get a cable modem or DSL, get a base unit and broadcast a net. Get a couple of your buddies to do the same and voila! Instant wireless net.
    • Why Wireless? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by dschuetz ( 10924 )
      Many times on slashdot (or elsewhere, I hear the words "Just get a cable modem or DSL". Well, dammit, for many of us, that is not a possibility.

      I live in one of the most well-connected areas of the country, and probably in the world. UUNET, AOL, MAE-EAST, and countless others are located out here. My county also has one of the oldest Cable-TV plants in the country. I live in one of the fastest growing sections of the county, and our CO is both overburdened and too far from my house for DSL.

      In short, Fixed Wireless, had it even been available here, is the ONLY reasonable broadband option for me. (I'm not prepared to deal with satellite latencies).

      People need to realize that losing these alternative systems is a phenomenally Bad Thing. I fully expect that in 2 years (just as the next-generation DSL that might have finally gotten me service comes online, maybe) DSL will be provided in my area by Verizon, and Verizon alone, and they won't bother upgrading, so I'll still have no DSL. And as for cable -- well, that *might* work, maybe, but I'll never get static IPs or a server-friendly AUP.

      Sure, I might not have had that with Wireless, either, but with more competition, especially from different media, there'd be more service-level competition for DSL, and more urge to expand and improve service. With no competition, well, why bother?

      It constantly depresses me, the state of technological affairs in this country. For pete's sake, we invented (more or less, perhaps) DSL, the Cell Phone, and countless other incredibly cool or useful technologies. But because "competition" and "the marketplace" is so vitally important to us (or at least to our well-funded politicians), we don't have any standards, we have incomplete rollouts, we have lousy service, and Microsoft.

      And the worst of it is, most of the public at large doesn't realize that it doesn't have to be like this! We accept BSODs because, well, computers crash, don't they? We accept lousy DSL service because, well, we're running out of IPs, and we don't have any backbone fiber left, right? We accept reduced cell phone services because it's great that we have a choice between CDMA and TDMA and GSM, right? Geez.

      Sorry for the rant. It's been a bad morning for me so far.

      So, let's say, for the moment, that a bunch of smart geeks running a non-profit ISP were to get together and start an 802.11-based fixed wireless service. How much, really, would that cost? Where would we get startup money? If we're going to serve 50, 100, or 1000 subscribers over a 2-10 Mbps connection, is it really resonable to have only a single T-1 on the back side? How do we afford a fatter pipe, if the subscribers are willing to pay half the cost for fewer services over cable?

      In short, we need these big businesses to build out these networks, to dip into their funds and live with losses for a couple years. We simply cannot do this ourselves.

      If anyone knows how we can do it ourselves, please let me know, 'cause I know a bunch of smart geeks at a non-profit ISP who would love to do exactly this.

      • How very idealistic of you. But, how, exactly, would a non-profit ISP do any better than all of the mom-and-pop ISPs who have gone under, and even the big ones that actually know what they're doing? Screw nonprofit. If you think that you can do it better, than do it, and walk away with a personal fortune. If you can't do any better, than shut your yap, please.
        • Re:Why Wireless? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dschuetz ( 10924 )
          How very idealistic of you. But, how, exactly, would a non-profit ISP do any better than all of the mom-and-pop ISPs who have gone under, and even the big ones that actually know what they're doing?

          That's exactly the problem.

          I'm not pushing "non-profit" for any idealistic reasons, I'm only saying that, as a non-profit, the ISP I'm on has very low overhead (most everything is done gratis by geeks), and can get at least some equipment via donations (which is how we got our big Bay dialup switch, I believe).

          If you can't do any better, than shut your yap, please.

          Um...well, I don't know whether we can do any better. Everyone here seems to talk about "just build your own WiFi network with your friends," but that's got serious problems with it, too. A low-cost, non-profit ISP is the next logical step up from a loose group of geeks with 802.11 equipment and a full-out, for-profit, telecomm-owned company. It gives us some degree of legal accountability (like, say, a way to collect fees), while keeping overhead low.

          Anyway, what I was trying to say is that I keep hearing people here either say "hell with wireless, get DSL" or "just set up your own wireless network." Well, I'm asking, "How do we set up our own wireless network, knowing that we need a decent back-end (T1 or better), that such a connection will cost money, and that we'll need some way to recoup those costs while also guaranteeing that when the founding geeks move on, something's left behind for everyone else."

          If nobody can explain how to do that , then I'd like everyone here who says "Just build your own wireless network" to shut their traps, as you so eloquently put it.
          • Everyone here seems to talk about "just build your own WiFi network with your friends," but that's got serious problems with it, too. A low-cost, non-profit ISP is the next logical step up from a loose group of geeks with 802.11 equipment and a full-out, for-profit, telecomm-owned company.

            This is being done as we type in Leesburg, VA. I don't know how close you are (it sounds as if you're somewhere in Loudoun Co.), but if you are interested, drop a line.

            • The problem with the wireless freenets is that the freenet operators are essentially giving away access from the for-profit providers which, in turn, often violates the providers' TOS and AUP agreements.

              One model worth considering would be to have a for-profit ISP install wireless 802.11b access points in public locations such as restaurants, book stores, coffee shops, etc. where the business owner would pay for the the provider for the equipment and bandwidth necessary to run the access point and then, turn around, and either resell it to the end user or simply give it away. This could create a 10-15% increase in foot traffic to the business and keep its patrons happy by allowing them to come into the establishment and surf the 'Net via the patron's own laptop, PDA, etc. and 802.11b card.

              Check out http://www.richmondfreewireless.org/tavi-0.20/ [richmondfreewireless.org] for more info. You'll notice it's very similar to Seattle Wireless, Personal Telco, etc. but the model is a bit different.

              HTH!

      • I live in one of the most well-connected areas of the country, and probably in the world. UUNET, AOL, MAE-EAST, and countless others are located out here. My county also has one of the oldest Cable-TV plants in the country. I live in one of the fastest growing sections of the county, and our CO is both overburdened and too far from my house for DSL.

        Heh, you must live just down the block from me (well 3k feet farther from the CO though).

        So, let's say, for the moment, that a bunch of smart geeks running a non-profit ISP were to get together and start an 802.11-based fixed wireless service. How much, really, would that cost? Where would we get startup money? If we're going to serve 50, 100, or 1000 subscribers over a 2-10 Mbps connection, is it really resonable to have only a single T-1 on the back side? How do we afford a fatter pipe, if the subscribers are willing to pay half the cost for fewer services over cable?

        The first problem is finding enough subscribers in an area small enough for you to serve. If you could find a geek cluster apartment, or townhome or some other sort of people hive that will really help. If you have no real funding you need to have all your subscribers lined up in advance because you won't be able to afford to buy your equipment and connectivity without income (or at least not for longer in advance then one credit card cycle or so...).

        You need to put enough 802.11 stations around to cover your area, for an apartment you may be able to handle around 3 floors on one hub. If you need to cover more area you need to either have 902.11 stations that can route traffic across them, or connect the hubs another way (which will be very hard to do if you have non-subscribers in the way). You also have to power these things. This is mostly a one time charge (they may break over time and need replacement, or you may have to expand your area...).

        Getting the link to your upstream provider will be costly. Most ISPs charge a lot more for the right to wholesale (resell bandwidth). Last I checked this was like $3k plus line charges per month from UUNET (note last I checked was like 5 years ago).

        Will one T1 make people happy? Well I work in an office with a single T1 for around 50 people, and it isn't too bad. Slower then my personal 256K frame relay (I use to get that for free when I worked for UUNET) felt, but it wasn't bad. Better then my current dial up, sometimes better then my DSL use to be before the provider went chapter 11...

        Some DSL providers use a 100 to one overcommit, but they have customers then tend to only browse, and they have a T3 so a few uberusers will not upset things too much. Ten people using the T1 will be the same kind of overcommit, but only if you are saying it is a 10Mbps service! If you advertise it more as a DSL competitor it won't feel as bad with 30 or so folks on it. Of corse 30 people will need at least $100 to break even on the T1, plus you have to pay the install cost and the 802.11 stations, and...

        It'll only really work if you can find an area that can't get DSL since you will have to charge about the same, for about the same kind of effective bandwidth...

        • You need to put enough 802.11 stations around to cover your area

          We've actually talked about 802.11 with directional, amplified antennas. (ignoring for now any interference issues...)

          Of corse 30 people will need at least $100 to break even on the T1

          Ding ding ding. That's where it all breaks down. So, you get more people, but now they *notice* the slowdown, so you get a fatter pipe, and you're back where you started. It's a lousy catch-22.

          We might be able to simply offer the service to our existing customer base (maybe 200 subscribers, mostly dialup or web users), but, even then, what's it going to cost us? Best case -- we put a bunch of high-powered antennas on existing masts in the county (like some of the high ones out in centreville). Point one of 'em back to the ISP (in merrifield, also conveniently near a big mast). Even if we get subscribers to pay for their own Cisco Aironet (or whatever it's called) equipment for their home, we've still got a lot of repeater-like equipment to buy, to say nothing of leasing the space on the towers (and hiring someone with insurance and bonding to climb up there).

          Again, it all, basically, sucks.

          BTW, I think I know you. UMCP, 1986-1990ish? Engineering geek? Hung out with Kurt, et. al.? SUPC? Very scary.

          david.

          • Ding ding ding. That's where it all breaks down. So, you get more people, but now they *notice* the slowdown, so you get a fatter pipe, and you're back where you started. It's a lousy catch-22.

            Bigger pipes tend to cost less per megabit/sec. Also I picked UUNET since I knew a price, they tend to be one of the more costly ISPs, so it may be possible to find a better deal. Also that is list price, you may be able to talk it down a bit.

            That is the bind though, bandwidth costs. That's why being a DSL provider sucks too. If you get really really really big you can get peering from some ISPs, but you have to be, like, huge for that.

            We might be able to simply offer the service to our existing customer base (maybe 200 subscribers, mostly dialup or web users), but, even then, what's it going to cost us? Best case -- we put a bunch of high-powered antennas on existing masts in the county (like some of the high ones out in centreville).

            Wanna send me some mail if you get one in Fairfax, say close to GMU?

            Point one of 'em back to the ISP (in merrifield, also conveniently near a big mast). Even if we get subscribers to pay for their own Cisco Aironet (or whatever it's called) equipment for their home, we've still got a lot of repeater-like equipment to buy, to say nothing of leasing the space on the towers (and hiring someone with insurance and bonding to climb up there).

            I was kind of assuming people would pay for their own CPE (access point and/or PCMCIA cards). You may need to help them set them up (if there is some degree of aiming involved!). Hmmmm, merrifield? Is that the UUNET building? AboveNet? Can't be zephion...

            Again, it all, basically, sucks

            Yep.

            BTW, I think I know you. UMCP, 1986-1990ish? Engineering geek? Hung out with Kurt, et. al.? SUPC? Very scary.

            1987-1992, yes on eng geek, yes on Kurt (in fact I woked with him at UUNET until about 2000), no on SUPC though. Must be someone else :-)

      • About a month ago, I was one of those mis-informed "Just get DSL" folks, enjoying my $40/month DSL line from Verizon, getting spoiled by the bandwidth and the seeming wide availability of the service, and wondering why anyone would use AOL dial-up when this was available. And then I moved... and everything changed.

        I moved literally a stone's throw from my old house, across a city street and a creek (I can still see my old house), but because there are not enough copper wires to go around, I cannot get DSL in my house and will probably NEVER have DSL (I even told Verizon that I would pay for the installation of new copper in my area). I am now stuck with dial-up, just like all the other poor saps who don't get DSL, can't get cable, or simply don't know broadband exists.

        However, about a week ago, I finally found an alternative - A WIRELESS ISP that is erecting some towers in a neighboring town. As soon as those towers go live (any day now!), I will be erecting an antenna on my roof and PRAYING that the trees in my backyard are not in my line-of-sight to the tower. And if those tress are in the way, or if there is anything else obstructing my view of the tower, I have NO other options for affordable home connectivity, even though I live in a well-populated, well-wired communtiy.

        So please don't tell me that wireless is dying ... for every geek out there with a T1 running into his basement, I'll bet there are 100 people like me who are at the mercy of the telco and their treelines.

        • the problem is that 9 out of 10 geeks with a T-1
          have either moved on, sold out to a bigger isp,
          or been squeezed out by the local telco; and the
          barrier is alot higher than it was 5 or even 2
          years ago.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @08:56AM (#2471612) Homepage
    • Although some of its 1,000 employees will get laid off as a result of the shutdown, DiGioia expects most will find employment somewhere else with AT&T Wireless. Those that don't, he said, will get help finding a job externally

    Given the current telecomms climate, I expect that they'll be given the industry standard mentoring and advisement program:

    "The door's over there. Don't let it hit you in the ass on the way out."

  • How much demand is there for fixed wireless? I've been considering starting a wireless ISP that would serve my local area, and I was thinking that no one would be willing to pay more money to switch from cable or DSL to wireless. This is what could have been the problem.

    Maybe if AT&T deployed only in rural areas...
    • This is terrible. I have been looking for a broadband service that would reach my new house. We currently have a cable modem but when we move the only option is ISDN with a metro service. That means just for the phone line I am looking at 100 a month then add on internet service. I was hopeful that ATT fixed wireless would be a solid solution. This is really depressing. Ohhh well looks like I am going to suffer for a long while.

    • by stripes ( 3681 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @09:32AM (#2471751) Homepage Journal
      How much demand is there for fixed wireless? I've been considering starting a wireless ISP that would serve my local area, and I was thinking that no one would be willing to pay more money to switch from cable or DSL to wireless. This is what could have been the problem.

      There is no real demand for fixed wireless over DSL or cable access. There is demand for high bandwidth, low latency, working service, fixed IP, no mandatory filters, easy set up, fast installs, and low price (clearly some of these things are more important to some people then others -- many don't care about fixed IP for example)

      If you can offer a good set of those features people will be interested in it, whether it is DSL, fixed wireless, cable, or whatever. Very few people care what technology gives them what they want, most care that they get what they want!

      Fixed wireless has an inherent advantage in "fast install" (you don't have to roll a truck and bury new wire), and maybe in more universal access (I'm just under 20K feet from my CO, and having trouble getting DSL now that Rhythms croaked).

      • Makes you wonder what kind of planners they have in their empoy who keeps on bugling. Something deeper inside AT&T might be going on that we cannot see.
      • There is no real demand for fixed wireless over DSL or cable access. There is demand for high bandwidth, low latency, working service, fixed IP, no mandatory filters, easy set up, fast installs, and low price (clearly some of these things are more important to some people then others -- many don't care about fixed IP for example)
        • I think you're confusing fixed wireless with satellite-based broadband, stripes. ;-)
        • Fixed wireless can scale up to 1Gbps with P2P links although average links are about 3-5Mbps.
        • Fixed IP's are available with fixed wireless (depending on the provider)
        • Not sure what you mean about "mandatory filters."
        • CPE is approaching the point where all a customer has to do is place the unit near his or her window, plug the unit into their NIC and run through the self-install app.
        • Low price - I've seen WISP's post as low as $29 per month with a $99 install.
        Hope this clarifies a few things. :)
        • I think you're confusing fixed wireless with satellite-based broadband, stripes. ;-)

          Actually I was just running down the list of things I think people want and saying "if you deliver these with wires, wireless, or avian carrier people will want it -- if you try to sell bandwidth just because of the way you provide it, people will not be so interested".

          Not sure what you mean about "mandatory filters."

          Stuff like some cablecos are doing "you can't get to port 25 except on our routers...nobody can get to port 80 at your home...".

          Low price - I've seen WISP's post as low as $29 per month with a $99 install.

          For 1Gbit/sec, or even 3-5Mbit/sec? No wonder nobody stays in that business long! :-)

          So where can I buy it?

          • Actually I was just running down the list of things I think people want and saying "if you deliver these with wires, wireless, or avian carrier people will want it -- if you try to sell bandwidth just because of the way you provide it, people will not be so interested".

            Ahhh...cool. :-)

            Stuff like some cablecos are doing "you can't get to port 25 except on our routers...nobody can get to port 80 at your home...".

            Ahhh, I see. I'm familar with that too. Many of the WISP's I associate with are usually pretty laid back and will allow open access on their networks, within reason. I'm referring to the small, regional WISP's.

            For 1Gbit/sec, or even 3-5Mbit/sec? No wonder nobody stays in that business long! :-)

            LOL! Actually, that's for a minimal connection which could be 256kbps symmetrical. :-) The 1Gbps is possible via Western Multiplex [wmux.com]'s Tsunami line but this is definintely not a residential solution considering the units can run, for both links, about $250k.

            I agree with no one staying in business very long charging $29 for a 3-5Mbps connection. Many WISP's charge for a CIR of 256kbps to 512kbps with a MIR up to 3-5Mbps, depending on whether they're deploying FHSS or DSSS gear, with the latter being faster and usually cheaper but more susceptible to the WEP security issues we hear about.

            If you're curious about pricing, an excellent WISP map I know of is at http://www.bbwexchange.com/wisps/index.htm [bbwexchange.com].

            HTH! :-)

    • This is something I've been considering going to my homeowner's assocation with - I'm in a 200-home townhome community in Annandale, VA, only about .25 mile square, and could potentially cover the entire area with maybe five or six access points, and the costs could be built into HOA fees, potentially no more than $20/month.

      T1 prices are currently in the 1-2K/month range, but we could also do this with SDSL, which is about $400/month for T1 speeds. The only open questions are a) how long SDSL will be available - if Covad shuts down, Verizon is the only provider left, and they only do ADSL to individual homes, b) what the actual hardware costs (how many APs) will be needed to get a 802.11b signal to every home in the community, and c) how much bandwidth will actually be needed to service the whole community.

      Has anyone done this with their HOA's cooperation? If so, what problems/solutions did you encounter?
    • How much demand is there, you ask?

      http://www.isp-wireless.com [isp-wireless.com]

      http://www.dslreports.com/forum/dslalt [dslreports.com]

      Plenty of demand. ;-)

  • by Jburkholder ( 28127 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @09:03AM (#2471636)
    "Digital Broadband" (fixed wireless) was also deployed by AT&T as a local phone service. People switched over from their local telco to AT&T and now will have to switch back.

    AT&T has similarly offered local phone service in my area over cable. I have cast a very skeptical eye towards this offering, not because of the potential for higher cost or lower quality, but because of AT&T's propensity to launch into new services, fail to make money and then cut their losses leaving the customer high and dry.

    • "Digital Broadband" (fixed wireless) was also deployed by AT&T as a local phone service. People switched over from their local telco to AT&T and now will have to switch back.


      This was not all it was cracked up to be. First, the pricing (about $35/month with free long distance intrastate) was only guaranteed for one year. Pricing could then go to whatever they wanted to charge. Also, in this area anyway, they came in too late to compete with other accepted technologies for Internet access -- cable, ISDN, and DSL.


      Personally, I would like to see cable expanded to more rural areas and everything go to cable modem and eventually cable telephones.

    • My dad, after about 15 years of more-or-less acceptable service from GTE/Verizon, switched his phone service to AT&T fixed wireless a few months back, and also tried their digital broadband service, since the wireless phone service cut about a third off his dialup speed (21 kbps down to 14 -- surprised he even noticed).

      The phone side worked acceptably, but the data side was a total disaster; turns out his signal strength was about 20% of what it should have been. Why AT&T didn't check this out before installing the service, I have no idea -- it must have cost them big bucks for the 3 or 4 truck rolls it took (not to mention the tech support calls) to figure out why his data performance was so crappy.

      If my dad's story is typical of other subscribers, it's no wonder AT&T's getting out; there's no way anyone could make money offering service to people who shouldn't have been qualified to receive it in the first place; the support costs will eat you alive.
    • AT&T has similarly offered local phone service in my area over cable. I have cast a very skeptical eye towards this offering, not because of the potential for higher cost or lower quality, but because of AT&T's propensity to launch into new services, fail to make money and then cut their losses leaving the customer high and dry.

      While ordinarily I would share your paranoid view, everything-over-cable is the future, not wireless. With very little modification, the existing cable networks can carry cable modem traffic. DOCSIS cable is capable of speeds of 45Mbps downstream and 11Mbps upstream (shared with the other subscribers on the same line card/blade.) While the upstream ain't necessarily so hot, you have a dedicated downstream channel.

      6Mbps is plenty of speed to play a DVD. With buffering, this provides more than enough bandwidth for video-on-demand. Obviously a great infrastructure has to be built.

      Naturally, there's much more than enough bandwidth for VoIP. A phone network only needs to handle 11KHz (or so) to handle even tonal languages, removing the necessity for chinese speakers to shout over the phone (our phone network's legacy portions are still designed for 8KHz.) 22Kbps, compressed 11:1 or so, and if you can lick the latency issue, there's no reason to know you're not on a real phone. Why the telephone switching network necessarily has so much less latency than the internet is something I haven't put a lot of thought into, especially since they are often running on the same "cable" nowadays. But never mind that.

      Companies want to provide you a single Gateway which will provide you ethernet out to your house 'net, POTS, a set-top box, and cable television. They believe that by rolling all these services (and their associated hardware) into one lump, and passing the resulting cost savings on to the consumer (at least in part) that they can beat everyone else out. AT&T is not the only company trying to accomplish this largely because America is not the only place this is intended to happen. DOCSIS is everywhere, providing a basic infrastructure. At least Cisco and GI have reference designs, both based on a chip from Broadcom.

      While times are still ahead for broadband, cable is the one I'd put my money behind. DSL is a close second, but SDSL equipment costs too much and ADSL sucks. Even a basic user can understand that their net connection chokes when they mail someone a binary. Then again, on my cable service, the same thing happens. Bastards.

      • No, I'm not disagreeing with the fact that boradband cable is the way to go. I am a fairly satisfied internet over cable customer.

        My lack of confidence is not in the technology, but in AT&T's ability to provide that technology on an ongoing basis without mis-managing it into the ground.

        Fixed wireless was supposed to be AT&T's silver bullet to circumvent the local telco and regain the local customer market. There is nothing wrong with the technology. It can't compete with cable broadband and AT&T was supposedly going to position it in markets where they did not have a TCI/MediaOne acquisition.

        They screwed the pooch. I'm hesitant to be near the next pooch that gets violated.
    • This appears to have confused some people, especially since the lead story is wrong.

      AT&T Wireless is not AT&T Broadband (formerly TCI.) They do PocketNet which allows network access from your phone, but that isn't the same thing.

      Management is still clueless, however, since they denied us a bonus because of turnover on the Prepaid plans. (Does anybody think Prepaid is a good deal?) Or maybe they aren't clueless and just want to screw the employees to help the next quarter's profit line. (There's been a lot of belt-tightening since we split off from AT&T.) Probably typical in the current economic climate.
  • 47,000 customers? I'm shedding tears. Wireless
    inet is hardly a do or die thing to anybody, nor the
    economy. Really. When even the library has data ports, how long is anybody really away from net access that it truely makes a difference?
  • Mike DiGioia, AT&T Wireless spokesperson, said the transition for both customers and employees will be gradual, not the systemwide shutdown of services that have become commonplace for failing broadband providers.

    So at least people will have time to sort out the details, and figure out alternatives.

    It seems like they learned something about the bad PR of instant shutdowns.

  • I wish they offered services such as these in my area; I am stuck with one-way cable which has slow upload and still uses the phone line :(
  • by 1r1sh ( 183564 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @09:38AM (#2471780) Journal
    I work for a small ISP that just rolled out wireless broadband, and the response has been excellent. With the number of people who have signed up for service, the business offering will definitely not be a money losing venture. I can only imagine that a complete and utter breakdown in management skill is the plague that effects AT&T. Of course we're not going to try to take over local phone service or other extraneous services, because we're an Internet company...maybe AT&T should find a focus and stick to it, and stop trying to be everything to everyone...sounds like some other companies I know...
    • AT&T Wireless is doing just like you said. They sell cell phones. It is a separate company from the rest of AT&T now (they split off this year.) A wireless connection that supplies everything from a local dialtone to high speed internet apparently didn't fit the company plan.

      Disclaimer: I work there.

      Wireless internet is still fairly new. My dad has tried it with his small ISP several times in the last couple years, but there isn't a big enough market for it. That, and the entry is pretty high. You need more than just a $89 PCMCIA card. End user set up runs around $250, bare minimum. And then you need line of site too. It'll happen if it isn't quashed by the telcos, but it isn't going to happen overnight.
  • We've got a group of people at my workplace that could use Wireless Internet access now...but it needs to be pervasive. They analise and evaluate gasolene storage tanks througout the state of Colorado.
    So is there ANY way for them to do that, statewide, with a live internet link? Or do we have to assume that doesn't exist and cache the data until signal is available?
    • If they don't need broadband, use analog-cell-phone modems. There are cellular-modem PCMCIA cards. With a short ppp timeout, fixed IP, and autodial on net connect, this should work quasi-transparently. The fixed IP is sweet because it allows persistent TCP/IP connections even if you down the link (thereby saving cellular minute charges).
    • Wireless does not have to be the only answer.

      Call Qwest Small business, and request D-Channel service. This is a little known ISDN service that provisions only a 16 Kbps D-Channel over existing copper; no B-Channels. You will get a usable 9.6 Kbps (remember, it is digital, not analog, so, although 9.6 Kbps sounds slow, it is not that same as a modem, as it uses conditioned pairs, and the data is digital; not as many lost packet, and no retries) and this should be more than enough for the telemetry application you descibe. And it is cheap. ATM's networks use it sometimes instead of Frame Relay, when the network engineer knows what they are doing.

      The next step is to encapsulate x.25 over this link. That way you can create your own x.25 secure VPN of sorts,) and you can send TCP/IP over it. The nice thing is that one can gather all data at a central site that can use any data link that supports x.25 (slick 56, ISDN, TCP/IP, whatever.

      I recommend you use Motorola gear, it always worked well for me. I used a vendor in the Denver area when I was consulting, NetLink Technologies, and they were very helpful.

      If I tell you anymore, I will have to bill you. Please address any questions to my E-mail address.

    • So is there ANY way for them to do that, statewide, with a live internet link? Or do we have to assume that doesn't exist and cache the data until signal is available?

      I doubt there will be an ideal wireless solution for you in Colorado anytime soon. Especially if you're talking about the whole state and not just Denver area, you're not going to find a wireless connection that will function everywhere.

      You're best bet is probably to go with one of the cellular services that also handle data. I use a Sprint PCS phone that can also act as a modem, it can either dial a specific modem number of connect to the internet directly. It officially runs at 14.4bps, though that's really best case. Note that Sprint's cellular service around Denver is actually one of the worst, so it's almost assured that you won't be able to get a connection everywhere.

      I can't speak of the other cellular solutions, but I bet this would be your best option. You would need to queue the data and your connection would be slow. This system would have to be classified as a hack rather than a solid business solution.

  • What fixed wireless providers remain in the country-- specifically on the East Coast? The wonderful guys who host my space (mia.net! [mia.net]) provide it locally to them in Wisconsin, but I don't know of anyone who does it in New York. Any suggestions?
  • by Captain Kirk ( 148843 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @09:54AM (#2471834) Homepage Journal
    I worked for a pure fixed wireless business on www.tele2.co.uk as a salesman and marketing manager. The problem is that there is so much fibre buried and phone lines already installed, that a new service struggles to cover even its operating costs. In most urban areas, the cheapest way to move data is to use existing infrastructure. Once you leave the city centre, trees obstruct fixed wireless so complaints rise every Spring of installations that were done in December-Febuary no longer being viable. This leads to a uninstalls along with a bad reputation. It destroys margin on sales.

    Fixed wireless is a superb technology but the existing technologies make it very hard to deploy it econmoically.

    Patrick
    • In the UK in the situation you describe, possibly not. However, in the US, it's becoming remarkably popular, for the following reasons:
      • The (Bell) ILEC's suck at DSL and it's slow to roll out. It also requires equipment to be installed at your local CO, so it is easier to deploy wireless than outfit your CO with a DSLAM.
      • Cable modems require upgrades to the physical plant, which is also slow in being rolled out by the cable companies in some areas.
      • Wireless is very quick to deploy. There is a reason why wireless service was restored very quickly in NYC after Sept. 11. It's very nature makes it easy to deploy quickly.

      To be fair however, there are some limitations/drawbacks to fixed wireless ( as pointed out above ):

      • Line of Sight/Multipath - Just about every current system requires line of sight or near line of sight to work properly. If you can't get line of sight, then you're out of luck. Trees are also the bane of fixed wireless in the 2-5 Ghz range as they serve to block signals very good.
      • Related to the first point, in order to saturate an area with coverage you'll need quite a few cells. You'll have to put up more cells to ensure good coverage, so while the cost of each cell is far less than equipping that CO with DSLAMs, you have to put up more of them.
      • CPE cost. ( Customer Premise Equipment ) It's still a new market and the volume isn't as high, so the cost of CPE equipment for fixed wireless is more than for DSL or Cable.

      It's all changing rapidly, and with recent advances in technology it's just getting better. The way dialup was back in the 28.8/33.6 days and has grown to what it is now is similar with fixed wireless. The early adopters will get a head start on everyone else.

      ObDisclaimer: I work for a fixed wireless provider, so I am a bit biased, but we also have done DSL and continue to do dialup access.

      • StarNet WX [starnetwx.net] Fixed Wireless Access
      • StarNet [starnetusa.net] Dialup Access across North America

      As for being economically viable, if you price it below your cost to deliver then it doesn't matter if it's DSL, Cable, Satellite, or Wireless. Good Technology != Good Business Model. If there is demand for high-speed access, then the market will determine what costs are acceptable. If it's not a commodity ( and I'd hazzard the supposition that fixed wireless is not yet a commodity ), then consumers will pay a premium for it. So yes, I will stake my claim and say that Fixed wireless can be economically viable, provided the business plan and pricing decisions are based in reality and derived from the actual "cost of goods" and not a made up number to attract VC or push an IPO.

  • The Department of Defence helped bail out the Iridium system and is offering phones and service to all US Governmnet agencies with discounts and, if needed, encryption. It's not all but dead.

    I just purchased a Motorola 9505 phone and was able to talk to my pilot yesterday from my cell phone while he was flying over the middle of the Pacific. He used it to keep in touch with the FAA controlers while out of radio contact.

    IMHO Iridium gives the military access to a satellite system without having to put one up. I think that it will stay around.
  • Nothing new (Score:1, Insightful)

    Typical AT+T Bullshit (damn, I might be modded down, but this is the truth).

    Remember NorthPoint? I had a rock solid DSL connection, an employee discount with MSN as an ISP (back when i worked at the RatShack), and 1.3Mb/s down. AT+T came along and bought NorthPoint and left how many thousands hanging? Like I said, nothing new. AT+T has no respect for customers, and will shut off vital services at a whim, with little or now warning (I had 2 days).

    Just my 2. I'll stick with DirecTV DSL for now.
    • I also had Northpoint with Verio as my ISP. AT&T bought Northpoint's assets AFTER they declared bankruptcy and AFTER they already announced that "a cessation of services is immanent."

      You might be able to complain that AT&T did nothing to keep the DSL service going, but they were merely buying assets at a dot-bomb garage sale; they never made any statements about the DSL service. AT&T had nothing to do with Northpoint's failure or leaving its customers high-and-dry.
      • You might be able to complain that AT&T did nothing to keep the DSL service going

        That is exactly what they did(n't). They had the network and setup to keep their new customers happy, but decided "ah fsck it". That's what I say when their telemarketers call me on SprintPCS phone.
        • AT&T did NOT but the customer base; they just bought the hardware assets, facilities, etc. They never said they had any intention of doing anything with the DSL service, nor did they have any obligation to.
  • "AT&T has decided to graciously bow out of the Fixed Wireless arena."

    What is gracious about leaving the 47,000 customers stranded?

    graciously bowwing out, would involve keeping all the current customers, and not accepting new customers or customer moves.

    • Frankly, I see nothing wrong with what AT&T is doing, they are not simply shutting off the network tomorrow, customers have between 6 months and a year to find an alternative. I was surprised to see them bow out completely though, epecially when the next generation of wireless technology is so close. But a billion dollars is alot of money when you practically pay the customer to use the service. I am an engineer for another broadband wireless provider, its no easy job. Simply running a wireless providership is costly when you concider nearly every customer problem has to be taken care of on site (truck roll) and maintenance of a wireless head end is very costly as most areas served by broadband wireless have their towers in remote locations like mountain tops. In Salt Lake City for example over half the year the towers there are reachable only by snowcat or helicopter. The snowcat ride to the top can be as long as 6 hours. Add this in with problems like ice on the antennas, line of sight and outside interference and things can get really interesting.

      Broadband Wireless is a great product but unfortunately the technology has not caught up with the demand. There are new advancements that will hopefully remove problems like line of sight and the need for a technician to install, but those are still 6 months to a year away. Currently the cost of adding a user is just too high to be profitable, every broadband wireless company out there is operating at a loss hoping that the next generation of devices will offer more potential.
  • I for one think it is better that the big guys are getting out of the wireless internet service. It gives incentive for us little guys to get off our duff and start setting up relays and access points.
  • You have to wonder (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sirgoran ( 221190 )
    Was it from a need or a business standpoint?

    How many other times have parent companies closed "lesser" earning holdings so that they can take a tax write-off on the "failing" business to off-set the windfall profits they made earlier in the year. The business world sucks because everything comes down to the bottom line. How much money can we make for our own pockets and our stockholders. I've been on both sides of this and when it was money in my pocket I raved about how good business is. After being on the consumer side of things, it blows.

    How many of us were changing our Telco's weekly when they were passing out checks to switch? I must have bounced between MCI, ATT, and Sprint five or six times in one month. But when the checks stopped I went with the lowest costing company.

    Yes, it's frustrating, but until someone comes up with a better idea I think it will continue.

    Goran
  • What about it was gracious? Leaving so many customers stranded doesn't sound too gracious to me.
  • by kc0dby ( 522118 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @11:13AM (#2472214) Homepage
    Just to check out the feasibility of something like this, after seeing all the cost speculation on here, I decided to give a call to the local Sprint office. Here's what I've found:

    Full T1 line, terminating in my residence, I provide CSU/DSU and routing equipment:

    Installation Fees waived with a 12 month contract, unlimited IP addresses assigned from Sprint pool. Total Monthly recurring cost is $300 for the local loop and $881 for the T1 port fee.

    So, compare this with my cable modem at $50 a month, and I'd need 24 users to break even- if I don't provide equipment, beyond the AP and antennas I already own. But to get to 24 people, I'm going to need a few thousand dollars worth of investment to set up the infrastructure to provide for a wider service area.

    Tower space can be expensive if you don't know where to look. In the small town I live in, people needed TV towers to get anything back in the pre-cable days. This included alot of businesses that felt the need for some type of communications. There are alot of bars, auto parts stores, empty buildings, etc. with some pretty hefty structures attatched. I have had success in negotiating near-free installation of equipment on those towers (I pay their electric bill one month out of 12.. In one case, I'm pretty sure they're losing money on the deal, because I'm using way more than 1/12 of the electricity to keep my boxen running)

    Of course, as long as you only need a little lift - say under 200 feet - you can legally fly a balloon with a few tight moorings and any equipment you need. (If you live too close to an airport, the legal limit is lower than 200 feet.)
    That could be a maintenance un-friendly installation though. It'd be a hell of alot of fun to try though.. Think Helium line running up alongside coax and power feeds. Imagine a beowulf cluster of these!

  • Iridium Is Not Gone (Score:3, Informative)

    by zulux ( 112259 ) on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @11:39AM (#2472399) Homepage Journal
    Iridium was bought out by a small company to service the large Department of Defence and US Governement contracts. The revenue from the US government is much larger that the cost to keep the Iridium constelation in orbit and in good repair. Becuase the 'new' Iridium dosen't have the debt burden of the old system - they can provide service at $1.50 a minuit. I use their service when I hike in the woods and need to keep in contact with my customers. The phones have been re-flashed and the voice quality is quite acceptable - it sounds like you're slighly muffeled, and now the phones can connect directly to the internet (unfortunatly only Windows is supported) in addition to connecting to an ISP. You can also send SMS messages to the phone.

    Because the new service has almost no dept and plenty of revenue, I don't worry about them going bankrupt.

  • by MrResistor ( 120588 ) <peterahoff@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Wednesday October 24, 2001 @12:06PM (#2472570) Homepage
    Isn't this the third time this year that AT&T has left a large number of customers high and dry? It's really irritating to me when companies do that, but it's especially bad when the company is as spontaneous and unappologetic as AT&T has been about it.

    I have to say that it fits with all my other experiences with AT&T though. They are the cable TV provider in my area and they suck. The picture quality is even worse than the channel selection they "offer", and in fact is exceded in lack of quality only by their customer service. If I could get any reception with an antena at my house I would drop them entirely. Unfortunately I just can't justify the expense of DSS with as little TV as I watch.

    • Disclaimer: I am/was an employee of AT&T Fixed Wireless Services.

      Disclaimer 2: My opinion in NO WAY represents my role as an employee, nor do I speak for the company.

      I just wanted to say that while AT&T as a larger organization has had its problems, AT&T Wireless is not about to leave our customers "high and dry." Nor will we be "spontaneous and unappologetic."

      The Fixed Wireless project has been in development for over five years, drawing some of the finest engineers and businesspeople in the industry, and the company has a firm committment to a "phased exit." That means the first item on our agenda is performing an orderly transition of each and every customer back to another local service provider. To quote a senior executive, "we'll do it in a way that makes customer care a priority. After all, we're talking about people's dialtones."

      It may also be helpful to remeber that AT&T Wireless alone has 20-30 thousand employees, and that divisions within AT&T (such as AT&T Broadband) aren't neccessarily in collusion to provide a negative customer experience. Most of us are intensely proud to be part of such an American icon, and work very hard to keep our customers happy.

      We're very sad that we can't continue to provide this excellent service to even more customers. Despite the ignorant claims that will be made against the technology, it worked extremely well and we had people demanding the service at a rate far exceeding how quickly we could install them. Several times we had to tell our marketing folks "stop selling the product, we can't keep up." Unfortunately there is a growth period before a business becomes profitable, and we didn't make it to the finish line this time.

      This is a great indication of how we all want and will benefit from competition for phone and high speed internet services, and it's too bad (and yes ironic) that AT&T couldn't help make this competition a reality. Please remember that the next time you or someone you know bitches about paying an exhorbitant rate for DSL service to your local monopoly telco.

      Lastly, rest assured that the technology is rock-solid and despite current economic problems and failing companies, you haven't heard the last word on broadband access in the home.

      Oh, and I'm a software engineer, not a marketroid. I'm just proud of what we did here. :-)
      • I'm afraid my experiences with AT&T Broadband have soured me on all things AT&T. I hope the technology succeeds, because I think it's pretty cool, but I wouldn't buy it from AT&T, regardless of price. Customer service is that important to me, and AT&T has proved to me time and again that it won't provide it.

        Yes, Pacific Bell is a monopoly telco here, but they maintain their monopoly by providing superior service (at least that's the case in my town, I know others disagree). AT&T Broadband is actually more of a monopoly, because they aren't required to allow other companies access to their lines. Their service and support are crap, which is why so many people in my area jumped ship to DirectTV as soon as they could. Cable modems aren't even an option here, since AT&T won't be upgrading the lines to be able to handle it for a few years (according to my brother-in-law, who was an AT&T installer until about 6 months ago).

        I appreciate your position and your sentiments, though. I'm sure I would feel the same.

  • I live near Baltimore, a pretty large city. I cannot get cable-tv (because the co-ax in my building sucks), let alone cable modem service or DSL. Why are services like this, rocoshet, or others not avalable when there are still people like me out there who want service?
    • Unfortunately, quite simply, there aren't enough of you to meet the economies of scale necessary to make such operations profitable.
      • Unfortunately, quite simply, there aren't enough of you to meet the economies of scale necessary to make such operations profitable.

        Actually, it depends on the surrounding area, IMHO. Are there any other potential subscribers surrounding the interested party? If so, would they be interested in the service too? Would the interested party be willing to market the service on behalf of the provider in exchange for, perhaps, free service and, possibly, free equipment?

        We're consdering putting a survey on our website to look into gathering an interest in the localities around us which are broadband deprived. It doesn't make sense to build an infrastructure which could start at $10k if the surrounding area's residents aren't interested in the service.

        Research is key. :-)

  • As an employee in the software dept of the sprint BWG (Broadband Wireless Group), I can also tell you that our devision has been hit by massive layoffs and we are expected to bring a halt to our over 50,000 customers within the next 6 months. Installations and future marketing plans have already been canceled.
  • All of the broadband access services face one similar problem -- building the local distribution network requires billions of dollars in investment. Then you have to sign up enough subscribers (at least hundreds of thousands) fast enough to generate revenue to meet both the ongoing business expenses and the "cost" of all that money.

    The various pieces that have been assembled into AT&T Broadband began making that investment and deploying cable modems more than five years ago. Currently we have about 1.5 million subs paying for high-speed data (through the @Home and RoadRunner services). If you look through some of the detailed financial information that has been released as part of the proposals to split Broadband off from the rest of AT&T, you find that high-speed data became cash-flow positive -- that is, the revenue is now sufficient to pay for current operations, new installs, and the cost of the incurred debt -- just this year.

    Neither the wireless services, nor the DSL resellers, were signing customers up fast enough to reach that point for at least several years, if ever. For a long time, broadband service is going to come from very large companies, probably with existing networks (originally built for other purposes) who can afford to wait several years for the service to become profitable.

  • Although the demise of Sprint ION was much heralded, I receive an E-mail from Sprint Broadband (SBB) the following day that informed me that SBB would no longer be accepting any new customers, either Business or Consumer. You can see for yourself at http://sprintbroadband.com/

    This is a bummer really, as, since Sprint figured out how to do wireless, my service really cranks: 2Mbps down, and 500 Kbps up. Great Stuff. Unfortunately, I had to slog through 7 or 8 months of speeds slower than dial-up.

    What really gets me about all of this is the contest between SBB, MCIW and AT&T. They were all out there buying up all the MMDS licenses they could. First, MCI bails out of the deal they were putting together with SBB a couple years back. SBB goes ahead and rolls out the service, and cannot meet demand. AT&T never really got off the ground.

    One must ask, who put whomever in charge at these telco's? SBB makes $50 a month off of me and several thousand other people (and $150/month off of hundred's of business') in the 'Springs alone, and they cannot pay for the antenna's and equipment? Heck, it is even their fiber that serves the distribution antenna, so no cost to transport my packets is really incurred by having to lay cable to my house, or to they distribution antenna. Their revenues are about $1.8 million/year just in this area and they are suspending service aquisition. It is just a matter of time until they cut it off in whole. With a 35 mile reach, I would be trying to get as many people as possible onto this service. It is WAY cheaper than DSL to setup and support.

    But hey, I am only the Capacity Planner at a teleconferencing company with a high growth rate, a large customer base, and lots of income. What do I know?

    EOR (end of rant)

    • Not much evidently,

      The antennae and reciever being installed is sold at a signifigant loss to the customer (over 50%) loss. The requirements for bandwidth and the limitations of spectrum mean that only a fixed number of customers can be added per sector. You still have to deal with transport costs. The day to day costs of maintaining the head end is many times greater than that of dsl. Add to that the need to constantly upgrade the sector to maintain an acceptable performance level and you are looking at a product that takes over 4 years until the customer is "paid" for.
  • With sprint axing their ION dev too, I have to wonder what that means for their current fixed wireless broadband customers (i.e. me). After the announcement about ION last week, I got an email from them saying they're not doing any new installs, but current customers would not be affected. This seems to tell me it's only a matter of time before they shut the rest down too. To be honest, sprint service sucks, but I refuse to use @home cable after working there for a stint (grudge). Dsl isn't available to my house either. I hate to think im going to be nating 8 servers at home though a dialup again. It's a shame the managerial screwups that have killed these operations are causing a repression/ regression of technology, but it does appear to be in effect. Maybe if we're lucky aol or microsoft will buy them all out and run them right!
  • I have fixed wireless Internet access [clearskybroadband.com], and I'm not impressed with the company. For $120 a month (after tax) I'm supposed to get 1Mbps in both directions, a static IP, and unlimited bandwidth. What a deal, right? Well...

    First, it took them 3 months to install the thing after many promises. They never returned phone calls (still don't for the most part). It would have taken longer but I pitched a huge fit and ended up on the phone with their CEO. The install cost $300 and came with a 1 year contract. This was back in March of this year. (oh, and that $300 was just an install fee: They still own the equipment.)

    The first two months, the service was slow. I was lucky to get 100Kbps, one tenth of my bandwidth. Their techs told me my antenna wasn't getting a strong enough signal, but they refused to move it for me (they installed it in the first place!). So I spent $40 on a nice tripod-mount mast for my roof and moved the antenna up high, pushing my signal rate through the roof. The bandwidth didn't increase one bit, and after some investigation, I found out they had a tiny pipe (I'm told a single T1) serving a few hundred customers.

    Then, they switched providers and my bandwidth jumped. I still wasn't getting my full 1Mbps, but it came pretty damn close most of the time (usually between 700 and 900Kbps), so I was satisfied. About a month ago they lost their high speed pipe and went back to the slow crap, and my bandwidth dropped to ~80Kbps. I pitched another fit, ended up on the phone with the CEO, and got half off this month's access. Right now, the bandwidth is a little better, but most of the time I'm still below 500Kbps and I'm still paying $120 a month for it. Friends in the know tell me they're running out of venture capital, fast.

    I have no other choices for broadband. Qest doesn't give a damn about DSL and has no plans to roll it out in my area. Cable modem service from Charter Communications has been "on it's way" now for three years, and they keep pushing it back. Now it's "sometime in 2002." The next county (literally 5 minutes away) is served by Verizon and they have DSL that works great - if you can get service. It's so spotty that out of a couple dozen people I know who want it, only two actually can get it.

    Wireless broadband is the only solution out here, but unfortunately, it seems to be run by people who don't exactly know what they're doing. Why they can't make it work with as many customers as they have is beyond me, but I'm surprised they haven't been sued for false advertising yet. They're still advertising bandwidth between 1Mbps and 10Mbps for various prices, but if they can't even keep up with the 1Mbps how the hell are they going to sell a 10Mbps link?! The answer: They can't.
  • I'm not technically gifted here... but I have a question. What would stop people putting these up WITHOUT internet access, creating small local networks for trading data between people in the neighborhood, and hooking these neighborhoods up together to to make regions, and then linking regions to make vast conglomerates. we could build a network composed of hundreds of thousands of individuals with NO trunk lines NO gateways and NO ISP's. You wouldn't use it to access the internet, you'd use it to replace it.

    I can think of gnutella like software designed to look for and link every signal it can find toegether, and then have every single computer act as server. This could also allow every computer linked this way to share resources like the way the SETI screensaver works, meaning every one attached gets a screaming fast data-crunching monster.
    Help out a technically challenged person here. Why won't it work?
  • This must be one of the following:
    • Advanced BASIC
    • Military Intelligence
    • Microsoft Works

    Yay! ;-)

We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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