Free Service

We live in an age of "free" IT and communications services once one has paid the local company for the basic communications pipe. The real free service will come when cities install wireless for all their citizens to use free of charge. Given all the taxes locals pay, this should not be an unreasonable thing to expect from the urban authorities. Regulations and interests of local phone companies, of course, can dampen this trend. More significantly, urban bureaucracies are not known for providing high-quality services. Dislodging local phone companies continues to seem easier said than done.

In today's "Business Life" column of Financial Times, Alison Maitland speaks with Skype's Niklas Zennström.

“We have more than 80m users and we’re getting 250,000 new users a day,” [Zennström] says. “We provide a service for free. If we had full customer service for everyone, we’d have so many people calling us that . . . it would be too costly.”

Unlike most companies, Skype makes no money from the majority of its customers, who use its free downloadable software to make calls from their computers. Its revenues – $60m last year, with a target of $200m this year – come from the small minority who pay to make and receive calls to and from landlines and mobiles (SkypeOut and Skype­In), and services such as voicemail and personal ring tones.

Comments:

The basic communications pipe: My opinion of capability of the pipe and its connection to the Wireless enviroment is very cautious. " I am sitting here multi tasking listening to Larry King on CNN with Senator Edward Kennedy , A Rare Hour, " he touches on Americas proper responsiblities of the moment and historical events. This after reading Scott Ritter post of A path to peace with Iran. http://alternet.org/blogs/themix/35226/ But back to your reference to the tax payers paying for good wireless service. An indepth look at tax payers fee for services whether in the Private or Public sector for goods and services has traditionally been well defined. This PnP (Private or Public) achievements is only acomplished by the skill of the people that each of the PnP entities employees. People all receive their sliver pieces for their sweat and toil. The Q factor (quality) is dependent of Time and Resources for the task. My opinion is that nothing is free! Certainly if Internet 2 or 3.0 is to be achieved; then the corresponding Q of Copper Coax Cable, Fiber glass optical cable or your referred to Wireless has to have the T and R applied to it. Even if there was a deffinition to every ones' to free rites to IT: it would need a Q factor. Say I.0 Gigabit per second per individual. or less. A poor installed wireless system is as effective as a poor telco land line to POTS handsets. or leaky coaxial cable distriabution ( ie. ingression and egression ) to the eatheric wireless domain of radio spectrum; and the hazzards of poor glass cable of OC3 quality and poor switches. Not an easy task to get this Free WIFI in service. Now excuse me if this is not out-lined as clearly as my abilities are capable of:... As I mentioned i am still watching Edward Kennedy presenting the current American Political and Econimic agenda. " I don't think Free is on the agenda " respectfully R. T. Gerwing YVR.BC.CA PS. The wireless domain is subject to intermodulation problems of interference on recieve and transmit sides along with the resulting noise and interference to the current necessary wireless services.

Posted by GerwingR on April 20, 2006 at 02:59 PM PDT #

Many good points. I also don't think in the network service world we can expect to get anything of quality for free. I mean really free.

Posted by M. Mortazavi on April 20, 2006 at 03:23 PM PDT #

Talking point revisited: The Quality of So called " Free " Wireless. Pioneering Wi-Fi City Sees Startup Woes AP. By TRPAVIS REED, Associated Press Writer St. Cloud officials are spending more than $2 million on a network they see as a pioneering model for freeing local families, schools and businesses from monthly Internet bills. It also promises to help the city reduce cell-phone bills and let paramedics in an ambulance talk by voice and video to hospital doctors. "All technology has its hiccups, and sometimes more than hiccups," St. Cloud Mayor Donna Hart said. "I think that it's going to be a major challenge, and it'll probably be a major challenge for some time until the technology is such that it works properly." Wi-Fi is the same technology behind wireless Internet access in coffee shops, airports and college campuses around the country. Several cities have Wi-Fi hotspots, but St. Cloud's 15-square-mile network is the first to offer free access citywide, said Seattle-based technology writer Glenn Fleishman, who runs a Web site called Wi-Fi Networking News. My personal muse is that I am in the Seattle Blog Club: and engaged there in this free wifi bolex called free service. I have to also laugh that my Cousins from my Great Grand Parents of MN. are in St. Cloud. Rare? I think not; " just the Continent perspective if not the Global one. " rtg. You are rather timely MM " keep your finger on the pulse"

Posted by GerwingR on April 23, 2006 at 07:08 AM PDT #

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