Saturday, November 12, 2005

Re: Free city-wide Wifi

Tony M[deleted] wrote:
> I completely disagree with this statement. I believe SBC
> and Comcast very much would like to know the usage habits of
> their user base. One reason is precisely so that they can offer
> a wide variety of* additional* services.
> In the worst case scenario, Google would be no different.

Agreed. I think there is the opportunity to get something different, though.

> However, if I am a paying SBC and/or Comcast customer, then those
> two companies know exactly when* I* am on the network. I.e. The
> modem/router/gateway is accessing the given network. They know the
> point of origin of the network access. My DSL company (not SBC)
> knows exactly when my router is sending/receiving packets of data
> over the network. This is absolutely 100% true as verified during
> a tech support call.


> If I connect to any open wireless network, then the only hard piece
> of info that network can have on me is the MAC (Ethernet) address of
> the wireless card in my computer. It would be beyond the scope of
> wireless networks to try and match this address with me (the owner
> of the computer).

As long as you never visit any of their affiliated websites which
have access to any unique identifier for you, then sure.

I doubt Google is up to anything particularly nefarious. I'd like to see
them take a more proactive approach to saying that, though, given the
treasure trove of data that they do sit upon.

Ultimately, de-wiring Mountain View makes a lot of economic sense
for them:

Annual rental to city: $12,600
Electricity: $ 4,000
Recurring costs: $16,600

Initial setup:
Pole-top equipment: $1,000,000 ($2500x400 -- high estimate I believe)

Annual Savings: $300,000 - $900,000

Savings are calculated based on the company no longer
having to reimburse their MV employees for DSL access because
they can hop on the company-provided wireless network from home.

low end: 500 employees @ 50/mo
high end: 1000 employees @ 75/mo
So, they recoup their money in a couple of years, maybe shorter if the poles are cheaper to equip, maybe longer if bandwidth costs (which I didn't account for) are significant.

It's the smart thinking we've come to expect from them.



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