Because every American
should have access
to broadband Internet.

The Internet Innovation Alliance is a broad-based coalition of business and non-profit organizations that aim to ensure every American, regardless of race, income or geography, has access to the critical tool that is broadband Internet. The IIA seeks to promote public policies that support equal opportunity for universal broadband availability and adoption so that everyone, everywhere can seize the benefits of the Internet - from education to health care, employment to community building, civic engagement and beyond.

The Podium

Blog posts tagged with 'Wi Fi'

Thursday, July 12

Changing Times

By Brad

Ryan Kim of GigaOm reports that New York City has started to make the innovative shift from payphones to Wi-Fi hotspots:

The hotspots are initially coming to ten payphones in three of the boroughs and will be open to the public to access for free. You can see a list of sites here. Users just agree to the terms, visit the city’s tourism website and then they’re up and running. Currently, there are no ads on the service, but there could be in the future.

The effort is part of the city’s larger goal of providing more digital inclusion for residents. And it’s also aimed at helping figure out the future of the city’s payphones, which are a source of complaints from many residents because they attract crime or are just plain ugly.

Wednesday, November 09

Keeping Up With Demand

By Brad

According to a new study from research firm Informa (via Reuters and the Huffington Post), public Internet hotspots worldwide are expected to reach 5.8 million in the next four years. The reason: The growing demand for mobile broadband is leading wireless carriers to increasingly offer Wi-Fi spots in order to handle the traffic.

Friday, March 11

Not So Fast

By Brad

Wi-Fi has revolutionized the way we consume the Internet. But according to a new study (PDF) from research firm Epitiro, when it comes to speed wired connections still rule the roost. Via Lance Whitney of CNet:

Tracking the broadband connections of sample users in the U.S., U.K., Italy, and Spain, Epitiro found that on average people lost around 30 percent of their download speed using Wi-Fi over wired. Further, Wi-Fi users ran into a 10 to 20 percent increase in latencies, or delays, when downloading content.

The study goes on to suggest that the gap between wired and wireless could mainly be due to Wi-Fi routers sharing channels with nearby networks or other wireless devices (such as remote controls and baby monitors).

Tuesday, March 01

Cool Video of the Day

By Brad

Researchers in Norway created this video to show Wi-Fi strength in the city of Oslo. Check it out.

Immaterials: Light painting WiFi from Timo on Vimeo.

Monday, September 27

White Spaces, the Digital Divide and the FCC

By Bruce Mehlman

Last week, the FCC approved a plan to commit open TV channels for wireless. The channels, known as “white spaces,” are desirable due to their location on the spectrum band, which allows signals to more easily travel across long distances and into buildings.

With too many Americans still lacking access to broadband, the FCC’s approval — even in the face of a possible legal challenge from broadcasters — is an important step toward finally closing America’s digital divide. It could also have a profound effect on America’s economy, inspiring innovation and investment for years to come.

We commend the FCC for its action, and as fans of technology, we can’t wait to see what innovations boosting America’s wireless infrastructure will inspire next.

Friday, September 24

Giving Wireless Broadband a Boost

By Brad

Yesterday, the FCC took a big step toward boosting the power of wireless broadband. Amy Schatz at the Wall Street Journal reports:

The Federal Communications Commission Thursday approved a plan to open vacant TV channels for wireless broadband, a win for high-technology companies that have long sought to use the airwaves for new services.

The FCC’s board unanimously reaffirmed a 2008 decision to open up the broadcast airwaves and clarified some technical details about how companies will be able to use them. Google Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Dell Inc. are among the companies that have pushed the FCC to open up the TV airwaves, and they have already been testing systems for using them.

FCC Chairman Julius Gena chowski said the move was important and would offer “unique opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs.”

At Bloomberg, Todd Shields breaks down what this move could mean for the economy:

White-space applications may generate $3.9 billion to $7.3 billion in economic value each year, according to a September 2009 study funded by Microsoft and written by Richard Thanki, a London-based analyst with Perspective Associates.

Wednesday, June 30

“Wireless Minneapolis”

By Brad

Via Broadband Breakfast, the city of Minneapolis is set to deploy 117 Wi-Fi hotspots around the city, providing residents with Internet access wherever they go.

Thursday, May 20

Wi-Fi Across the Pond

By Brad

Via the BBC, the Mayor of London has promised the city will have a “blanket wi-fi” by the time it hosts the Olympics in 2012.

Wednesday, January 20

Surf Through That Flight Delay

By Brad

Good news to travelers who find themselves trapped in Boston. Six years after installing Wi-Fi throughout Logan Airport, the Massachusetts Port Authority has recouped its initial investment and will now offer free access to passengers.

Monday, January 11

Fear of Technology

By Brad

Via TMC Net comes the strange story of a man who believes he suffers from “electromagnetic sensitivity,” a neighbor who has wi-fi and a cellphone, and a bizarre lawsuit.

Friday, January 08

Land of the Free

By Brad

According to the website WeFi, 40% of Wi-Fi hotspots in America are unlocked, allowing anyone nearby to hop online. In Europe, meanwhile, just 25% are open.

Tuesday, September 29

Fly the Chatty Skies

By Brad

With more and more airlines providing Wi-Fi service for passengers during flights, there’s a question of whether Internet phone calls should be allowed. USA Today investigates the issue:

It’s a controversial issue that’s triggering fierce debate among travelers, airlines and regulators. Federal regulations prohibit in-flight cellphone use — but not Internet-based phone calls — lest they interfere with flight operations and create congestion in ground cell towers. A bill in Congress seeks a similar ban on all in-flight voice communications by passengers.

It’s all the more controversial because airlines in Europe, Asia and the Middle East allow calls and have even taken it a step further by introducing pay-by-minute cellphone service using satellites.

A recent poll found the public almost evenly split on whether phone calls should be allowed on flights. The major concern: in-cabin noise, with chatters ramping up their volume to be heard over the hum of the plane.

Monday, August 03

Broadband Fact of the Week


Close to 50% of “smart phones” now have Wi-Fi, in addition to fast access over mobile phone networks.

Swanson, Bret. “Bandwidth Boom: Measuring U.S. Communications Capacity from 2000 to 2008.” Entropy Economics, June 24, 2009.

Read the entire “Bandwidth Boom” study (PDF).

Monday, July 27

Strange Ailment of the Day

By Brad

A crippling allergy to…wi-fi?

Monday, May 11

The Baby Monitor Lag

By Brad

A new report out of Britain finds that devices such baby monitors can make wi-fi pokey:

The report smashes the myth that huge congestion on overlapping Wi-Fi networks is responsible for the poor performance of Wi-Fi in urban areas. Instead, it points the finger of blame at the raft of unlicensed equipment operating on the 2.4GHz band.

“There is a view that some domestic users generate excessive amounts of Wi-Fi traffic, denying access to other users,” claims the report from wireless specialists, Mass Consutling. “Our research suggests that this is not the case, rather the affected parties are almost certainly seeing interference from non-Wi-Fi devices such as microwave ovens, Audio Video senders, security cameras or baby monitors.”

Dense areas are hardest hit by lagging, though the report goes on to note that low-density areas can also be affected—sometimes by a single device.

Tuesday, March 31

Scam of the Day

By Brad

Via Ars Technica comes the story of a company, a promise of cheap wi-fi, and the 35 Comcast residential accounts used without Comcast’s knowledge to offer that wi-fi.

Wednesday, February 18

Smart Cars

By Brad

Here’s something cool. Scientists at the University of Southern Australia have developed a way for cars to connect to municipal Wi-Fi and hotspots. As Read Write Web points out, the innovation could have a number of uses:

With the DSRC system in place, cars can become nodes on Muni-Wi-Fi networks, Wi-Fi hotspots, and home Wi-Fi networks. The possibilities are nearly limitless for what that could mean. Dealerships can diagnose vehicles cable-free, cars can receive real-time downloads of maps and traffic conditions, they could communicate wirelessly with toll stations, and the vehicles could even automatically download music from home PCs. (Or maybe iTunes Wi-Fi store? We don’t see why not.)

In addition the numerous applications that would make a connected car both useful and fun, there’s a public safety element to the system as well. Vehicles could alert their drivers of congestion and accidents, could help drivers safely perform maneuvers like lane changes, could help prevent collisions, and much more. As you traveled, the data about what lies on the road ahead could be relayed from car to car so there is no lag between when the tractor trailer overturned and when you, the driver five miles back, is informed of this.

According to the developers, the technology is just three years from wide availability. Stay tuned.


Wednesday, February 11

Surf the Friendly Skies

By Brad

Dallas-based Southwest Airlines has joined American Airlines, Virgin America, and Delta Air Lines in testing in-flight Wi-Fi for some of its flights. But unlike the others, Southwest is the only airline…

...using satellites to deploy its service, which will allow Internet connection to remain turned on when the aircraft is flying over water. Other carriers, which are working with Chicago-based Aircell, use ground cellular towers to beam transmission, and their connection is available only when flying over land.

The first Wi-Fi enabled planes roll out in March. No word yet on pricing.



Thursday, January 15

Broadband Plans and Wi-Fi Fears

By Brad

A major push to bring broadband access to every child in the UK has taken a small step toward becoming a reality:

An initiative to ensure every English schoolchild is able to access the internet from home has moved forward following an announcement by a strategic adviser to the government.

Becta, which focuses on learning through technology, revealed that the suppliers have been chosen for the testing phase of the Home Access Programme. The pilot stage of the project, to take place from February in Oldham and Suffolk, will see materials provided by Centerprise International and Stone Computers, among others.

The Home Access Programme, announced by the prime minister in September, aims to ensure that children between the age of seven and 18 in full-time state-maintained education have broadband connectivity. It is part of Becta’s Next Generation Learning drive.

Not everyone is going to be happy about this news, however. Specifically, the sleepy hamlet of Glastonbury in southwestern England. Once known as the burial place of King Arthur, Glastonbury is now known as the little town that fears wi-fi:

Ever since the town’s free municipal wireless broadband network went online in May, people have been complaining of, as an online petition puts it, “headaches, dizziness, nausea, severe tiredness, brain fog, disorientation and loss of appetite, loss of balance, inability to concentrate, loss of creativity” — all ailments an examining physician would find it difficult to prove or disprove.

“This place is not appropriate for a Wi-Fi trial,” resident Linda Taylor tells the local Fosse Way magazine. “People are complaining of headaches, tingling skin among other symptoms. This makes me wonder what is it doing to the children.”

Even with absolutely no scientific evidence that wi-fi causes ill health, the people of Glastonbury aren’t having it. In fact, in the six months since it’s been offered, the town-wide wi-fi has only been used 422 times.


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