Monday, April 01, 2002

Satellite Radio Goons Attack Wi-Fi

If you read nothing else this week, read Thomas Weber's excellent column on the effort of satellite radio operators to restrict wi-fi development. Since the WSJ is a subscription service, I'll quote the first three paragraphs in their entirety:

"Wireless Internet access was all the rage at the annual PC Forum gathering last week in Scottsdale, Ariz. High-tech gurus surfed the Web from untethered laptops while entrepreneurs touted new wireless business plans. But there's trouble in paradise, and every Internet user needs to know about it.

The problem concerns the widely used wireless technology known as 802.11b, or Wi-Fi. Satellite-radio operators complain that Net users' Wi-Fi connections could interfere with their services, and they want the Federal Communications Commission to impose new restrictions on the technology.

That could kill the wireless revolution before it gets started. If Wi-Fi equipment makers are forced back to the drawing board, plans for pervasive wireless Internet access in urban areas could evaporate. Start-ups that have embraced Wi-Fi, such as Sky Dayton's Boingo Wireless, would be out of business.

Killing the wireless revolution before it gets started is one really, really bad idea.