Thursday, June 19, 2008

Philadelphia Freedom,

We can all dream of a complete wireless environment, where instant access to anything is achievable on the move. Anything, anytime, anywhere. What this would do is seriously change the devices we use and how we communicate. No more hot spots or patchy service, just a constant high performance connection to everything. Download and watch TV on demand , music a click away, instant shopping comparisons in store, up to the minute news, alerts, weather, GSP and of course exchange of information.Today we areachiving it as individuals, albeit slowly, tomorrow we may achieve it as communities. It will revolutionise how we work, communicate and social networking. It has dangers, but at the same time significant potential.

We read in the NY Times today that Philadelphia, the city of brotherly love, aims to provide free-of-charge outdoor Internet access throughout its 135 square miles and in doing so become the largest US city area covered by public WIFI. Philadelphia, a city of 1.4 million is the 6th largest populous city in the US and 49th in the world and had already signed up to the Earthlink WIFI city wide service which it started in 2005. The service was plagued with issues on performance and connectivity and had only achieved 6,000 registrations when was abandoned earlier this year.

Now that city council has changed supplier and plans to complete and improve the network with people being able to buy a $200 device that will bring the service into buildings, offices, homes etc. It may no longer be entirely free but it now has the potential to cover the city inside out. Corporate customer revenues would now pay for the distribution of the network signal throughout the city and most notably to deprived areas where Internet access is not a given.

It may take time to fully roll out and others may overtake it, but we are starting to see the democratisation of access and connectivity in major urban areas. This will in turn lead to the democratisation of communication and social communities. We are starting to see the shoots of a radical change where communication and information changes from one way to all ways. Where contribution is welcomed and desired and the relationship between creator and user starts to change. This will change publishing as we know it today and how we value creativity and contribution as users.

No comments: