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County-Wide Wireless To Be Deployed in Michigan 172

alien88 writes "Late last week, the Washtenaw County Board approved Wireless Washtenaw Advisory Board's recommendation of 20/20 Communications to cover the entire county with wireless by the end of 2007. This includes Ann Arbor, the home of University of Michigan and future home of Google's Adwords division. The wireless network will be free for speeds up to 85kbps and $35/month for 500kbps. 20/20 Communications estimates it will take around 6,000 radios to cover the county.

This initiative is being funded without taxpayer dollars and is one of the most ambitious wireless deployments in the U.S. Will it succeed or will it fail? Check out the county's wireless website for updates on the project."
Of course, the real reason this is worth posting is it's because this is the county where Rob, myself and a number of the others live.
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County-Wide Wireless To Be Deployed in Michigan

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  • by bensafrickingenius ( 828123 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:34AM (#15858259)
    and the telcos used their lobbying dollars to CRUSH the effort. Good luck Washtenaw!
    • $35/month for 500kbps? The precedent will worry the telcos, but these prices are hardly any competition for broadband. The dial-up providers will definitely be against it, but I don't think they have all that much muscle.
      • by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:58AM (#15858331) Homepage Journal
        I think it is the free plan that has the ISPs worried. Even though 85kbps is no good for VOIP and video streaming, it is more than sufficient for the average Internet user. You can check your e-mail, send instant messages, and browse the headlines at that speed.


        This could also negatively impact the adoption of high speed cellular data networks, which are becoming popular with businesses.

        • And, that 85kbps is more than you would get if the telcos would have free reign with their "500kbps". Because, if there is no competition around, telcos tend to sell cheap "broadband" that tends to go to 500Bps (there's no "k" here... at least the B is capital) anywhen between 16:00 and 24:00 or so.

          Most customers don't know how to notice they got cheated due to overselling, and those who do, have no recourse except for building their own mesh.

          But, once the telcos have real established competition in the ar
          • No matter how you look at this, if it works as planned it will be good for the residents of the area.
          • All hail the new unremovable advertising popups in GPLv3 (section 5c)!

            Popups are not required by 5c, and the requirements of 5c are definitely nothing new.
            Here is the wording of 5c in the current draft of GPL V3 (7/27/2006):

            If the work has interactive user interfaces, each must include a convenient feature that displays an appropriate copyright notice, and tells the user that there is no warranty for the program (or that you provide a warranty), that users may convey the modified work under this License,

            • It is easy to make the copyright notice be formed to be an advert, and it takes only a bit of ill will. And, once that popup (GUI) or even X lines of text spam (CLI) enter a program, they are unremovable except for certain very far-fetched tricks[1].

              Even worse, we have seen it abused already, for GPLv2. For example, Hans Reiser put a list of sponsors into the copyright notice, and then argued that those who add a GUI over his software without showing the adverts beside their progress bar breach his copyri
              • Even worse, we have seen it abused already, for GPLv2. For example, Hans Reiser put a list of sponsors into the copyright notice, and then argued that those who add a GUI over his software without showing the adverts beside their progress bar breach his copyright. This did take a Joerg Schilling-like intentional twisting of the GPL, but with GPLv3, the twisting won't be needed anymore.

                Nowhere in GPL V2 or V3 does it mention that the copyright notice must be preserved AS IS in your derivative work. It just

          • And because the government says they are going to deliver 85kbps, you believe them?

            I agree with you that businesses are overselling.

            Government has a long tradition of promising more than it deliver at a much higher cost than it promised.
        • Even though 85kbps is no good for VOIP and video streaming, it is more than sufficient for the average Internet user. You can check your e-mail, send instant messages, and browse the headlines at that speed.

          This is the strangest of all Geek fixations, the most divorced from reality.

          The web appliance tanks whenever it is tested in the marketplace. AOL bleeds red ink with the death of dial-up. Fully half of Apple's revenues come through sales of the iPod and iTunes...

          I could go on and on and on. P2P. Game

          • Most websites (/. included) do not suck up bandwidth. Glancing at America's most popular websites [alexa.com], I see lots of sites that will run just fine on an 85 kbps connection. Of the top 25, here are the ones that will have real trouble: Myspace (only audio streaming should have real issues), YouTube, CNN videos, and maybe flickr. You need to forget that those of us here are far above average information consumers. There are many people who go online simply to utilize e-mail, check the headlines, and perform r
          • The death of dialup isn't just about the speed, it's having to actually dialup, the constant disconnections, the caps on how long you be on, and cutting off the phone. All those things are solved by wireless, even if it's just as slow.
    • The telco's case is getting weaker and weaker as time goes on. "Broadband" as we know it here in the U.S. is getting fairly old now, but it has not kept up with the pace of other areas of technological advancement in IT, since the telco's and cable companies are reluctant to re-invest their multi-billion dollar profits (i.e. the 18,000 foot limit still applies for DSL in most places, although the technology has been there to extend it well beyond that). I live in an urbanized area in the middle of a mediu
      • the 18,000 foot limit still applies for DSL in most places, although the technology has been there to extend it well beyond that

        I dunno what's happened since the merger, but last I checked, SBC (now part of att, yes yes) would only offer service to 14,500 feet, so consider yourself lucky. Personally, I live in Lake County, California, and most of this area doesn't even have cable, let alone DSL.

  • by Kranfer ( 620510 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:36AM (#15858265) Homepage Journal
    I am a HUGE fan of the county/city wide wireless programs that are popping up all over the U.S. And Canada. While I do love this, I do have a few reservations. One reason why I do not live out where I want to (The Catskills in NY) is I cannot get broadband service without paying a huge amount of money. However, I am wondering how well a system like this would work in a mountainous area such as the Adirondacks or the Catskill Plateau... Does anyone have any information on a town/county/state implmenting a wireless network over ruggard terrain to reach the rural people where wireless might be blocked by hills, mountains etc? I would be very interested to see how something like this would be put into good use.
    • My question to you would be, do you get good cell phone service in said area? Most times, trees are more than enough to reduce a wireless signal. There are three main problems that any wireless signal has to contend with. These are reflection, diffraction, and scattering. Multipath scattering would be the biggest obstacle in a heavily wooded area and would greatly reduce most wireless signals. While directional signals can maintain a longer distance [because they are being aimed] omnidirectional (coverage i
    • Culver City's an LA suburb a bit north of LAX. It's flatland, not hilly. I'm sitting in my hotel room using the city's free WiFi [culvercitywifi.org] right now. Performance isn't great, but I'm on an upper floor, and the hotel people said it really works a lot better down in the lobby. There's a bit of technical description here [culvercitywifi.org] - there are three Firetide Hotpoint mesh routers fed by a 3 Mbps DSL gateway.

      The main difficulty I've had is that my PC can see multiple hotspots, so sometimes if I've hibernated the machine and w

  • by Oink ( 33510 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:37AM (#15858266)
    I lived in Ann Arbor for 5 years and just moved to Austin, Texas for graduate school. Damme!
  • by krell ( 896769 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:40AM (#15858276) Journal
    They had the MERIT network there practically before Al Gore invented the Internet.
    • Merit is still a HUGE Internet (and Internet2) player in Michigan and surrounding states. Check out their newest (well, coolest-newest) project here: http://list.msu.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2=ind0508&L=msunag &D=1&T=0&O=D&P=131 [msu.edu]. I'd love to set up a LAN party on that baby!
    • I still remember the first time I ever connected to the internet... dialed into michnet at a blazing 2400bps and what did I do... hmm I'm pretty sure I checked out gopher, then tried fingering a few ladies, decided I had more fun on my favorite BBS (Dearborn Connection) and dicided that the internet was about worthless. Well, it wasn't long before I realized how wrong I was!
  • livvin in (Score:5, Funny)

    by daves ( 23318 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:40AM (#15858278) Journal
    ...this is the county where Rob, myself and a number of the others live in.

    ... and work as professional editors.
  • by digitaldc ( 879047 ) * on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:42AM (#15858283)
    I felt a great disturbance in the Network, as if millions of Washtenawans suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced...
  • by Rexico ( 891283 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:43AM (#15858286)
    If this can work in the U.S., presumably it would work even better in the UK with similar internet usage and a much higher population density.
    • You'd think, but the truth is that thanks to LLU (local loop unbundling) we've got telecos fighting to get 8mb+ broadband through our phone lines. Hell, they're giving it away as part of the television / cable / satalite service.

      No need for another infrastructure if you ask me; wireless might be nice to public places, but to the home, I really can't see the need right now.
      • Also, I believe the power output of wireless devices is far more limited under UK regulations than in the US. IIRC there are attemps to get these regulations relaxed for this purpose.
        • Not sure of that front, but I'm running stock Cisco 350s / 1200s / 1242s across my wireless network, and to cope with the 60s construction (they don't build schools like they used to!) I've got everything turned up to the highest power setting. I think that makes it 100mw for the 350s, which is what the US versions are capable of.
    • If this can work in the U.S., presumably it would work even better in the UK with similar internet usage and a much higher population density.

      Higher population density is actually an argument against wireless.

      Given a particular cell on a particular frequency, there's a shared amount of bandwidth available to all users in that space (11 Mbps with 802.11b, 54 Mbps with 802.11a or 802.11g, though actual throughput is far lower than that). In a very sparse area, like a rural county, it's extremely expens
  • A naive question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LaughingCoder ( 914424 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:45AM (#15858294)
    Perhaps someone out there knows the answer to this ... if I were to fly over this region would I (briefly) be able to access the internet from my laptop? If the Access Points have miles of range, does that range extend *up* as well as *out*? Just curious. And of course, by extension, as more and more cities roll these things out, will we have access to the net wherever we fly? Assuming the answer to my question is yes, could this begin to impact airplane design (especially small planes), by assuming net access? Planes could report their position (on board GPS tells them where they are, then they use the wireless net to communicate to "Air Traffic Controller" servers, which could then send back flight instructions). Just a few random thoughts for a Monday morning ...
    • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:05AM (#15858351)
      Probably not. Wikipedia:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washtenaw_County,_Mic higan [wikipedia.org]

      lists the area of the county at 723 square miles and the summary says 6000 radios. 723/6000 is 0.1205. So a typical tower is going to cover just over a tenth of a square mile, which is less than 2000 feet on a side. Unless you are flying pretty low, you aren't going to get much of a signal.
      • Except (Score:4, Informative)

        by everphilski ( 877346 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:25AM (#15858433) Journal
        There are no obstructions up and down, whereas there are obstructions laterally - trees, buildings, cell phone towers, etc. The range vertically is much, much larger than the range laterally. You could probably go a couple of miles.

        You can communicate with the shuttle and amateur satellites (that are 250-500km in elevation, not to mention a lateral distance away) on ham bands on half a watt of power - these transmitters are probably a tenth of a watt. So a few miles would be a fair assumption on these radios that are working on (IIRC) 100mW of power.
    • Re:A naive question (Score:3, Informative)

      by Henneshoe ( 987210 )
      If the Access Points have miles of range, does that range extend *up* as well as *out*?

      Anntenas do not disburse energy equally in all directions. So the range in the "up" direction is not nearly as far as in the out direction. Wow, guess I actually used that EM class in college.
    • A lot would depend on the geometry of the antennas that they are using. Antennas have lobes where the reception is greatest and dead zones where you can't get anything. This fact is why we can use triangulation to locate radio sources. You use an antenna that has a big lobe surrounded by dead zones. If your antenna is pointing at the source you get a strong signal. If you steer it into the dead zone you get nothing. Now you have a heading to the source. With 2 stations, you can now triangulate to the
  • Pointless.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by porkThreeWays ( 895269 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @08:49AM (#15858302)
    City/countywide 802.11 a/b/g is POINTLESS!!!! I really don't understand why all this money and resources is being spent on it. They have horrible range and were never meant to cover an area this big, so you have to buy an insane amount of AP's to get decent coverage. I bet when all is said and done they end up with 8,000 AP's and the project ends up costing a few hundred thousand dollars. On top of that, constant maintaince that ends up not making it economically viable.

    Calm down with the citywide wireless. I know WiMax have been dragging their feet, but my guess is by 2009 we'll have usable WiMax that is ready for city wide deployment. You are going to waste all this time and money now, so that in 3 years you are superceeded by WiMax (which will do the job better and have less maintaince). Hot spots are fine. If you want to drop 200 access points around the county to get some coverage for popular places, that's ok. 200 access points would probably be viable. 6,000 (or in reality 8,000) aren't.
    • Actually I think they should do this. Mainly because they will undoubtly uncover numerous problems with today's technology. It always takes a few bold people to go first. Their network will work, but more importantly it will help push better technologies forward as the limits of current technology are shown. So yeah it's worth a few hundred thousand dollars for the lesson IMO.
      • So yeah it's worth a few hundred thousand dollars for the lesson IMO.

        It's worth a few hundred thousand bucks, sure, but that's not what it's really going to end up costing us.

        In the areas where it's attempted, it's going to cost them ever having a viable municipal internet-access system for a generation or more. The cost of failure is usually never being able to try again, particularly when the failure is large in scope.

        It's also hard to quantify how many other localities will never bother to try any muni i
        • This actually could prove to be a boon to business in Washtenaw County. When business thrives, tax coffers fill, thereby helping to defray such installation and operational costs. It's a beneficial cycle, at least in theory.
    • City/countywide 802.11 a/b/g is POINTLESS!!!!......You are going to waste all this time and money now, so that in 3 years you are superceeded by WiMax (which will do the job better and have less maintaince)......

      The "Wait three years and then the technology will be perfect for situation X" argument is true in perpetuity.

      • So you are saying in 1998 it would have been better to try and get the nations homes on ISDN for internet access rather than wait 3 years for DSL? The point being 802.11 a/b/g wasn't designed for municipal use and WiMax is. The "Wait three years and then the technology will be perfect for situation X" can apply to certain situations.
        • So you are saying in 1998 it would have been better to try and get the nations homes on ISDN for internet access rather than wait 3 years for DSL?

          Yes.

    • Re:Pointless.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rob T Firefly ( 844560 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:04AM (#15858349) Homepage Journal
      Sometimes it's worth it to go for broke at the start. You can assume that the Slashdotters know what working free countywide net access could mean, but it's not until it's there and usable that the general population will learn its advantages. After that, when WiMax or whatever else comes along to supercede 802.11 becomes viable and cheap enough, Average Joe and the Sixpack family will be more willing to support the upgrades (through taxes or otherwise) since they'll have been grooving on the WiFi for a while and will be receptive to a better version.

      Imagine if they'd held off building any telegraph networks in the 19th Century, on basis that it would be just a matter of time before a voice-transmission network could be done instead.
      • thats the sad part here.

        People are acting like the money is free. Trouble is a great many people in that county are going to be taxed for a service that a good number will never get to use.

        Oh yeah, I know, there will be programs for people of certain groups to get access, most won't take advantage of it. Its another feel good bill that makes it look like a county/city/state is actually doing something good.

        Sorry, if even one trailer exist at a local school it should the first thing addressed. Quit divert
        • Given the relatively well-heeled demographic of our (Washtenaw) county, I suspect that _most_ households will be taking advantage of this once the system is up and debugged. There's not a lot of love for Comcast in these parts.

          Oh, and ahem [mlive.com]: "The company, and not the county, is planning to pay the estimated $42 million cost to set up the service and provide the free access within county borders."

          I suspect that even if the county were heavily subsidizing the system, it'd be a net gain for people here.

        • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @10:26AM (#15858788)

          People are acting like the money is free. Trouble is a great many people in that county are going to be taxed for a service that a good number will never get to use.

          So? A great many people never go down to the public parks, or use the public baseball fields or drive on that county road out in the middle of farm country. The question is not whether everyone will use it, but whether the benefit to the people will be greater than the expense. Will the people benefit by the increased tourism, real estate sales, and reduced cost to local businesses this will provide even if they don't use it directly? It seems likely.

          Sorry, if even one trailer exist at a local school it should the first thing addressed.

          The public schools in Washtenaw country are well funded.

          Quit diverting money from projects already starved of cash.

          What projects would those be that people want more?

          Internet access at reasonable speeds in Washtenaw county as in many places is provided by the Cable company ($60/month) or the phone company (DSL is $70/month). These outrageous prices hurt everyone. I'm happy the county is instituting public wireless. It saves me money and my neighbors' money and local businesses' money. The general public may not need internet access, but they don't need parks either. The public does want it and so do the businesses. It will almost certainly be cheaper than the current system. I'd rather some of my tax dollars were wasted subsidizing internet access for the poor and those in more rural areas than help fund the monopoly telecos that are bleeding me for money now.

          • "The public schools in Washtenaw country are well funded"

            Not exactly. We have this thing called proposal A, which attempts to divide funding up relatively equally between districts. Before the proposal, we had a larger budget than most districts. Now, money is essetially being taken away from us and given to other districts to equalize things.

            The problem arises, when you look at the fact that is costs more per child than in other districts. Because the cost of living in Ann Arbor is so high for instance, te
          • Amen, brother!

            I'd like to add that by offloading otherwise dialed-in users to wireless access, modem lines would be freed up for outlying users. That would have been helpful to me when I was dialing in years ago... And dialing in... and dialing in... and finally getting connected (for three minutes, then EOF lol).

            Also, consider the social implications (I make this remark only HALF jokingly): more people will leave the house/apartment/dorm, taking their surfing outdoors and maybe--just MAYBE--interacting in
          • "Internet access at reasonable speeds in Washtenaw county as in many places is provided by the Cable company ($60/month) or the phone company (DSL is $70/month). These outrageous prices hurt everyone."

            The key word there that argument is "the", as in the cable company and the phone company. In many places there's only one of each, because the companies were granted monopolies years ago by the local governments. There's no reason for that to continue. The solution to outrageously priced high-speed access is n
            • The solution to outrageously priced high-speed access is not to spend yet more tax money on setting up and maintaining a wireless network, it's to allow competing phone and cable companies.

              Yeah, because we'll get those laws passed in michigan anytime now, just as soon as said companies forget to pay their campaign contribution bribes. Sorry but it just isn't going to happen. The phone company legally has to allow other companies to sell DSL across their lines. Realistically, they ignore the law and no on

        • This post is so wrong, I don't even know where to begin.

          You touch all the bases, from "OMG, think of the children," to blatant ludditism ("only the rich will ever use the internet!") Also, if you had read the article, you would know that it is a private, capitalist company that is funding the network, not the evil LIE-beral county government.
          You also seem to be confused about the technology here. There are some standards; they are called 802.11b, 802.11g, and WiMax.

          The only thing I can possibly say is this:
      • I understand the point, but 802.11b just was never meant for this task. If you want to spread something today, get municpal EVDO at 2-Mbit/s. At least that would be maintainable. 802.11b is the tin can and string of the 19th century. EVDO would be the telegraph.
    • Re:Pointless.... (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Funny, Grand Haven michigan as well as parts of Grand Rapids,MI does it with 802.11b and it works great. Each accesspoint has about 3500 feet range and on each home you add a patch antenna pointing back to the nearest AP and it works great.

      Thgey are not using consumer grade crap like you are suggesting they are using the commercial licensed stuff that you obviousally either do not know about or have a grudge against.

      • Thgey are not using consumer grade crap like you are suggesting

        Funny, I read my post again and I never suggested they are using consumer grade equipment. The difference between commercial equipment and home equipment is generally the management anyway. Things like WDS and global configuration, and for outdoor equipment being able to survive those conditions. Range isn't one of them. A 100 milliwatt cisco AP is going to have almost the same exact range as an Asus 100 milliwatt AP.

        According to wikipedi
        • If you can't make a hotspot viable, how can you ever expect county wide access to be viable.

          Thats easy, I wouldn't pay to go to the park to download pr0n, but I'd pay to be able to download my pr0n from the privacy of my own home.

          The idea of commercial "hotspots" assumed that people who have had the internet come to them for years and years would suddenly change their habits and go out of their way to get to the internet. The vast majority of the "successful" ones are the ones in cafes and the like, where
    • 6,000APs. Lets say those only cost $200 each (AP + DSL modem). That's $1,000,000 right there.

      But honestly, that's the cheap part. People don't just want Wi-Fi, they want Wi-Fi that connects them to the internet. So every AP needs a backhaul connection and it needs to be mounted on a post.

      It'll easily cost you $2000 each to get these up on posts. That's if a crew puts up 3 or more a day. And then for every unit that is more than a trivial distance from a phone line, you need to hook up the backhaul wire, tha
  • In addition to Washtenaw County, Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties are also setting up a similar wireless network, although these two counties are concentrating their efforts on the most populated areas and kissing off everyone else. (Did I spell kissing correctly?) And none of it is free.
  • ...and here I thought Michigan was in Canada.
    Like a suburb of Saskatewan, right?

  • Login Required? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dduardo ( 592868 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:06AM (#15858357)
    Are these networks going to require some type of login for the basic speed or will it be completely open for anyone to use?
  • Not happening. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Darth_brooks ( 180756 ) <clipper377@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:17AM (#15858401) Homepage
    This all sounds well and good, but Washtenaw county is the heart of Comcast country. They will find their way into the state legislature's pocketbooks and have this initiative put to sleep like a sick dog.

    This is nothing more than election year pipe dreaming.
    • This is nothing more than election year pipe dreaming.

      I think you underestimate the reality-resistance of the People's Republic of Ann Arbor.

      Seriously, it'll get done, or at least get started. I'm wondering if the various 3G cellular modem services won't prove much more popular than the paid tiers of this WiFi net though. Or if anyone will bother with the paid tiers since they have cable or DSL at home?

      They did say they're planning to switch over to WiMAX when/if that technology gets straightened out. I

      • I think you underestimate the reality-resistance of the People's Republic of Ann Arbor.


        You mean like their ability to "Think globally, don't bother doing anything locally." They're more concerned with playing to the constituancy of "Berkeley East" types than actually accomplishing anything.

        You might see Ann Arbor become a fully covered hotspot, but I can't see Comcast & AT&T sitting back and let their 15 and 50 dollar a month cash cows get eaten alive. They'll throw together some poorly worded legis
      • Warped (Score:3, Insightful)

        by twitter ( 104583 )

        I think you underestimate the reality-resistance of the People's Republic of Ann Arbor.

        A private company that takes advantage of technology to offer a cheap service is called communist. It's main competitor is a state protected monopoly, labled "reality". Something is very screwed up here.

  • Oakland County [oakgov.com] in MI has their 802.11 pilot up already. Causing a few problem w/business's who already had an 802.11 network deployed. It's nice to be able to jump on a non-monitored, non-proxied network from work!!
    • Hate to reply to myself, but this is a very interesting part of the document.

      "The solution shall prohibit one wireless client from seeing another wireless client computer, thus
      preventing ping sweeps or the use of scanning devices from finding other wireless clients using the
      service. The free and for fee service must support the use of VPNs at layer 3 and layer 2 VPN
      tunnels by stationary clients. Mobile VPN support can be a fee based option. The solution provider
      must have a system in place to detect jamming
  • by eschasi ( 252157 ) on Monday August 07, 2006 @09:50AM (#15858565)
    When Dexter's on the internet, can Hell be far behind?
  • Consider that, according to the release, the community will let the operator install 6000 radios on "water towers, buildings, light poles and other structures". In New York City, operators have to pay to get access to such valuable real estate. Providing access to community real estate free of charge is definitely a form of subsidy.
    • install 6000 radios on "water towers, buildings, light poles and other structures". In New York City, operators have to pay to get access to such valuable real estate.

      Most people consider NY an example of how not to tax people, but obviously they have their fans. Reasonable places allow use of the public servitude. If the deployment of radio boxes can be done without interference to other infrastructure and without government cost but with great benefit to the people of the county, it would be silly to

      • It's also possible that you are wrong. Every one of those structures could be private.

        I'd say it's also possible that you didn't read the linked release, which mentions these as "community assets"... I take it as meaning that the county has actual jurisdiction on who gets to use it.

        Requiring money to access real estate property is usually not considered a tax, even when said property belongs to a municipality or government. It's just rent!

        Obviously the ability to use existing poles has great value to the op
  • This is a bad idea masked as a good idea. What happens when they need a massive upgrade of the technology in 10 years? Or some hacker figures out how to own the entire network?. Taxes will go up and service will suffer. Ann Arbor already has horrible taxes, this will make it worse. Someone who doesn't want or need wifi access now is forced to pay for everyone else. They take what people are willing to pay for, and turn it into a cost center, meaning that they will now get the least-cost service instead of
    • What happens when they need a massive upgrade of the technology in 10 years?

      Um, same thing that would happen in any other situation? It'll cost money, and either the county has it or they'll have to charge more or they'll have to pass a bond or other money-raising initiative. A private company that had to spend money on upgrades wouldn't hesitate to pass that cost plus some profit margin on to their customers, so I'm not seeing how it's really different.

      Ann Arbor already has horrible taxes, this will make
  • What, no telco lawsuits yet?
    I'm dissappointed, the pigs are slacking off.
  • And here I am, just outside of the network over in Wayne County (right next door practically). Maybe other counties in the state will start picking this up. It's not a rival to telcos since it's so much slower than broadband offerings, but it would be nice to sit outside away from my own WAP and get some net connectivity :)
    • because this is the county where Rob, myself and a number of the others live in.
      No, I'm in Oakland, you insensitive clod!

      It'd be nice if Oakland Wireless wasn't stillborn. Sad, really. Any local firmware hackers want to help us relight Ricochet? The next step involves disassembling SH3 code.
  • I wonder what impact this might have on arbornet.org, a long-time Ann Arbor BBS. Like maybe lots of BBS's, they've been through having to pay for lots of modems, then getting lean and relying moreso on telnetting over home/ISP accounts. I wonder if the county's wireless plan bodes well or ill for venerable old m-net (arbornet)...
    • I wonder how it could make a rat's turd of difference to m-net.

      Give me one hypothetical effect, positive or negative.

      M-net can get wireless bandwidth for free instead of data center bandwidth for free!

      People who are online via wifi are more likely to log onto m-net and the user base will increase!

      People will have another hot new michigan meme to discuss on m-net instead of wasting time on /.!

FORTRAN is not a flower but a weed -- it is hardy, occasionally blooms, and grows in every computer. -- A.J. Perlis

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