Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Tired of the monopoly game.

Doc Searls is tired of a specific part of the monopoly game, sucky AT&T coverage.

I like to think bigger, I'm tired of the whole monopoly game.

I think we should take a few big chunks of spectrum and dedicate them to a new mesh transport network. There would be standards for equipment, with the good old FCC doing type approvals. We could then all buy our own off the shelf part of the internet. Everyone could own it, or improve it. I expect that groups would quickly form to meet common needs, and the commercial interest would leverage their existing sites to move into this new opprotunity.

Instead of government enforced monopoly use of the spectrum, everyone would have to fairly peer with everyone. For the commercial end of things, there would be minimum requirements that would allow you make money, but keep the incentive there for others to contribute to the spectral commons. The main billing event would be transit off the wireless grid and back into the phone company or internet. Those would be the toll booths. This means that if you maintained enough equipment to have good wireless connectivity, you wouldn't have to pay any tolls.

The other option would be to bill it out like railroads if necessary so that everyone gets fairly paid for how much traffic they help move. It's my understanding that owner of a section of rail gets paid by whoever moves cars over it. The owners of the cars get paid rent to use them. It's complicated, but it works.

Either way, let's give strong incentives for people to put up mesh network nodes, and keep them powered and maintained. This can help route around the huge cost of laying fiber, and get us acceptable speeds at acceptable costs, right now, in spite of the economy, etc. Pay back the unused portion of the rents we've charged the cellular networks if they agree to the plan, and are willing to provide access in a neutral manner.

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