Singapore Unwires Port

MuniWireless says Singapore aims to be the world’s most connected seaport.

Singapore, one of the world’s busiest seaports, aims to become one of the most connected with WISEPORT (WIreless-broadband-access for SEaPORT). The initiative between the Port Authority of Singapore and the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore will provide all ships within 15 kilometers of Singapore’s shoreline with real-time data communication.

The first port in the world with land-and-sea wireless broadband communications.

Later this year, the Port Authority and IDA will jointly initiate a Call-For-Collaboration (CFC) to develop new WISEPORT content and software applications for the seaport community.

Motorola Mobile TV Phone

Motorola introduced its first handset to support Vcast Mobile TV from Verizon Wireless.

The Motorola Z6tv is a GPS-enabled slider phone with a 2.0 megapixel camera and video capture and playback. The handset features a 240- by 320-pixel screen with a Bluetooth headset for Vcast Music.

Verizon Wireless will begin offering the phone next Friday for $180 after a $50 mail-in rebate and with a two-year agreement.

Google: We Got Trouble. . . In 700 Mhz

Building a nation-wide, 700mhz wireless network could cost as much as $12 billion and take as long as three years to build, said Google’s Washington telecom and media counsel on Sept. 25. That would be on top of a minimum of $4.6 billion to buy the spectrum.

Google’s Rick Whitt told students at George Washington University’s Institute for Politics and the Internet, “It would cost more money than people think. Do we really want to take that leap?”

Cost estimates vary, of course.

Sprint expects the WiMAX buildout at 2.5 GHz to reach 100 million people by the end of 2008, with Sprint providing coverage to 70 million and Clearwire to 30 million people. Sprint expects to invest approximately $2.5 billion in building out WiMAX through 2008. Beyond 2008, the company expects to extend its coverage to approximately 125 million people by year-end 2010. That phase would be driven by economics, requiring an additional capital expenditure of approximately $2.5 billion.

Aloha Partners has more than 270 licenses in the 700 MHz band, covering nearly 65% of the U.S. population and nearly 85% of residents living in the top 100 markets. Aloha Partners says they’ll use their two, 6Mhz channels on the 700MHz band for HiWire mobile television service, providing some 24 tv channels to handheld devices.

Aloha Partners predicted that building out a nationwide system at 700MHz would be far cheaper — closer to $1.7 billion (pdf). A one-way television system would cost much less than a 2-way network, of course. Kagan and Aloha estimated the initial 700 MHz CapEx for building out a nationwide mobile tv network at $450 million (versus $2.1 billion for Modeo’s proposed 1.65 GHz service).

Kagen estimates a nation-wide, 2-way 700 MHz network would cost $1.7 billion to build out, while Google estimates the build out cost at $12 billion. But Kagen doesn’t have an iron in the fire.

Google does.

Virtual City Guide Learns from You

The Palo Alto Research Center is developing a new mobile application, code-named “Magitti,” reports C/Net. It suggests local venues for shopping and other activities based on location, time of day, preferences and past behavior.

This shot shows two views of the main page. The image on the left shows the list of merchants nearby, and the image on the right shows the touch-screen interface that allows users to navigate with a flip of the thumb.

The more you interact with it–showing preference for things and rating them–the more it learns about your personal tastes, and its suggestions reflect that. It uses collaborative filtering to recommend things that others with similar tastes like and allows people to input their own ratings and reviews.

A leisure city guide system will be commercialized by Dai Nippon Printing (DNP) in Japan, with trials scheduled to start in the spring and general availability in that country in spring 2009. There’s no word on whether the principals plan to bring it to the U.S.

Disney Kills It’s Cell Service

The Walt Disney Co. is shutting down its remaining mobile virtual network operator, Disney Mobile, as of Dec. 31,2007, reports RCR News.

The company announced this morning that it would dismantle Disney Mobile (wikipedia) and would explore “a new business model for its content and services that might include offering its popular Family Center product through a partnership with a major U.S. carrier.”

Disney’s former Mobile ESPN MVNO now exists as an application available through Verizon Wireless. The company pulled the plug on Mobile ESPN after less than a year of operations; Disney Mobile launched in June 2006, and runs its service over Sprint Nextel Corp.’s network.

Disney Mobile advices on their website;

If you want to retain your wireless phone number and transfer it to another wireless carrier, we encourage you to sign up for service with the other carrier before November 30, 2007. This will ensure there is adequate time to transfer your phone number. You should not terminate your Disney Mobile account until your new carrier successfully transfers your wireless phone number.

Disney had a unique and useful cellphone service that could track your Kids.

At least five companies — Wherify Wireless, Guardian Angel Technology, Disney Mobile, Verizon Wireless and Sprint have built-in G.P.S. tracking. The super-simplified Wherifone ($100), for example, is intended for very young or old customers. It has no number pad. You can program three of its four speed-dial buttons to dial Mom, Dad and Gramps, for example; while the fourth button can bring up an address book containing 20 more numbers.

Related DailyWireless stories include; Mobile ESPN Killed, Personal Location Devices, AT&T Adds Parental Controls, ABC Radio Merger, Wherify Tracking Phone, ABC News Now Looks to Future, and Sports Games Mobilize.

National Broadband Policy?

Today the Committee will explore the pivotally important topic of high speed internet access for small business. In particular, we will discuss the extent to which small businesses have access to broadband technology, whether the prices are affordable, whether the speeds are adequate and how we can make improvements.

Senator John Kerry, Sept 26, 2007

The U.S. Senate is asking, Where is Our National Broadband? Two Democratic FCC commissioners, Michael Copps (pdf testimony) and Jonathan Adelstein (pdf testimony), appeared before the Senate Small Business Committee (video), yesterday, to discuss how improved Internet access would help small businesses.

Our current efforts are woefully out-of-date and out-of-whack,” Copps said. “We need a more credible definition of speed [than the current 200 kilobits per second for broadband] and more granular measures of deployment, as well as to start gathering data on price and the experience of other nations.”

They called for a national broadband summit to discuss the U.S. high-speed Internet penetration rate, blaming its slow rollout on a lack of cohesive data and a reliance on marketplace conditions rather than government-sponsored initiatives.

The Directorate for Science, Technology and Industry has the latest OECD Broadband Statistics to December 2006.

South Korea Wants To Stay Broadband King, says Broadband Reports:

Now that the average South Korean has a 45Mbps connection, the government is conducting a massive analysis of the quality of consumer broadband. Once they’ve determined how well providers are performing, the government intends to establish safeguards holding ISPs accountable for poor service:

The quality evaluation plan for broadband comprises two categories–technology and user satisfaction. The evaluation index for technology will measure both upload and download speeds, delay time and loss factor, while the evaluation index for user satisfaction appraises the connecting rate of termination call, with plus points going to providers serving users with written contracts at each stage, from subscription to termination.

Obviously South Korea’s small size and population density helps in enabling broadband connectivity, but obviously some lessons can be taken from their broadband policies. Here in the States even getting the FCC to provide accurate broadband penetration data has been like pulling teeth, and the best we get are a scattered few lawmakers insisting that having some broadband plan might be a good idea.

Incumbent lobbyists, fearful (and rightly so) that progressive pro-consumer policies could hurt their bottom lines, have lobbied this nation’s government into apathy and inaction.

On Wednesday, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved an advisory committee’s proposal to seek partners for a publicly owned fiber-optic cable network that could carry everything from e-mail to video to phone calls.

The proposed Community Fiber Network (pdf), would serve government offices first, then might be expanded to run fiber-optic cable into every home and business.

St. Paul’s decision to pursue a fiber-optic network puts it on a collision course with the Twin Cities’ two dominant providers of broadband services: Qwest Communications and cable provider Comcast, which both oppose the idea.

“In general, we don’t think it is appropriate for the government to use taxpayer dollars to offer or subsidize a service in competition with private-sector alternatives, and high-speed Internet service is a particularly competitive and robust market in most areas,” Comcast spokeswoman Mary Beth Schubert said.

“Government-run broadband networks are risky ventures that often rely on overly optimistic subscriber and revenue projections. When the networks fail to meet financial goals, the taxpayers get stuck with the bill,” said Andrew Schriner, Qwest’s director of public policy.

The fiber network could cost $200-$300 million, depending on the size of the network, but it’s not clear how it would be financed.

Qwest, the incumbent telco in Utah, has also fought municipal fiber projects UTOPIA and iProvo . Tacoma’s Click Network is one of the largest municipal telecommunications systems in the United States. They hoped to attract between five and eight ISPs to its network but costs were higher and projections optimistic. Same deal with Ashland Fiber in southern Oregon. On the other hand, The Dallas attacted Google with its Q-Life municipal fiber network.

Professor Tim Wu says city dwellers won’t be able to get high-quality wireless Internet access for free. But Tim’s World excludes Portland, Oregon.

Through a combination of good luck and good management, Portland scored one of the few city-wide municipal WiFi networks that offers completely free service (with banner advertising).

At first, I could never seem to get a reliable connection with MetroFi. Now it works well from my apartment. DailyWireless has been using it as our sole connection to the internet for the last month. So far, so good. While I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I find that MetroFi is a valuable addition for the city. Who doesn’t love the idea of free WiFi everywhere?

Personal Telco activists have demonstrated that free grass roots wireless is not only possible but effective. They pioneered the concept and made it happen in hundreds of coffee shops, small businesses and residences in Portland.

Russell Senior, a volunteer at the free community WiFi organization, Personal Telco, has reservations about MetroFi. He says MSN’s new Sideguide software is going to be far more intrusive than MetroFi’s banner at the top of a page.

Codenamed Shadow, the main purpose of MSN Sideguide is to fund the free wifi networks that Microsoft is currently testing in Oakland and Portland with its ISP partner, MetroFi – the wifi connection will be dropped if Sideguide is not running.

Portland city commissioner Dan Saltzman, who overviews the cable television and MetroFi WiFi franchise in Portland, is apparently considering a fiber network for the City of Portland. According to Saltzman’s chief of staff, Brendan Finn, this might be a private, public or private/public partnership. Brendan Finn spoke to PersonalTelco (video) on September 26, 2007. The informal chat discussed some of the ideas that are currently circulating around City Hall.

Although they approach it differently, both PersonalTelco and MetroFi have the same idea. Free.

So here’s an idea — free internet access should be a right of every United States citizen.

Right here. Right now.

I was alive and I waited, waited
I was alive and I waited for this
Right here, right now
there is no other place I want to be
Right here, right now
watching the world wake up from history