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Bill St. Arnaud is a consultant and research engineer who works with clients around the world on a variety of subjects such as next generation Internet networks and developing practical solutions to reduce CO2 emissions such as free broadband and dynamic charging of eVehicles. He is an author of many papers and articles on these topics and is a frequent guest speaker. For more details on my research interests see

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Will cable companies offer low cost cell phone service with Wifi peering?

[Many cable companies in North America have been struggling with the idea of how to get into the lucrative cell phone business. But they are daunted by the high cost of deploying a cell tower infrastructure. The recent Time-Warner announcement with FON points to one possible model where customers will be encouraged to operate open wifi access spots from their homes and businesses. Although the story in the NYT is being pitched as Time Warner is allowing users to share access with their modem - the real opportunity is that users of the new WiFi enabled cell phones will have an inexpensive and widespread low cost cell phone network, provided by their cable company at a faction of the cost of deploying a normal cellular phone network. The revenue opportunities of cell phones are significantly higher than selling basic broadband, and it is not to hard to see that it would be in the cable company's interest to offer free broadband if customers agree to operate a FON open wfi spot. New wifi peering tools like that developed at Technion will allow the range to be considerably extended -- BSA]

Time Warner broadband deal to allow users to share access
NY Times
By The Associated Press

In a victory for a small Wi-Fi start-up called Fon, Time Warner will
let its home broadband customers turn their connections into public
wireless access spots, a practice shunned by most Internet service
providers in the United States.

For Fon, which has forged similar agreements with service producers
across Europe, the deal will bolster its credibility with American
consumers. For Time Warner, which has 6.6 million broadband
subscribers, the move could help protect the company from an exodus
as free or inexpensive municipal wireless becomes more readily


Free Wi-Fi software nixes need for routers
Wireless software from university can be downloaded at no cost

Researchers are making available software they say can be used to link nearby computers via Wi-Fi without a router and that someday could be used by cell phone users to make free calls.

Technion-Israel Institute of Technology scientists say their WiPeer software (available as a no-cost download here) can be used to link computers that are within 300 feet of each other inside buildings to more than 900 feet apart outside.

Next up is extending the software to work with cell phones so that callers can bypass operators and talk to nearby people