Let’s look at the deployment planned for two cities, Philadelphia and Hong Kong.
As you all know Philadelphia has announced that they will be deploying a citywide WiFi network. In case you’ve been away vacationing in a cave here is a link to the Philadelphia story (apologies to Philip Barry)
To summarize this planned buildout, Philadelphia is planning to light up the entire city using WiFi which should deliver a shared 5-6Mbps of bandwidth. Not too shabby by our standards. With luck, in a year or two they will even be able to upgrade to WiMAX giving them the ability to deliver 20Mbps to the end user!
In contrast, Hong Kong has also decided to update their infrastructure by rolling out a brand new state-of-the-art network of their own. Here is a link to the story describing Hong Kong’s 10Gbps network.
The difference in scope is staggering. The economic advantage Hong Kong will have over Philadelphia is a level of magnitude above what we can even begin to understand.
Let’s examine some of the advantages Hong Kong will be able to leverage.
At 10Gbps every home and company that is connected will have a network that is superior to any business LAN we have in our country except for a very few. This means that the average employee in Hong Kong will be able to get up in the morning, log in and go to work – no commute, no time lost in commuting, no expense, less pollution and still have all of the infrastructure that the office could possibly provide. Included in this network is the ability to video conference, make and receive telephone calls, share files with coworkers and access the internet substantially better than anyone in this country.
Perhaps, more importantly, will be the benefit that this network brings to people in their off-work time. IPTV, Video on Demand, video conferencing and a flock of services we can’t even begin to guess at. Think of what might become available; telemedicine, real-time security, distance learning, companionship for the elderly and shut-ins, streaming music, streaming video and full screen webcam.
By contrast, the residents of Philadelphia will be able to surf the net and get their email at roughly the same speeds that DSL and Cable modems provide. This is not necessarily guaranteed as the speed is shared with anyone else that might be sharing that particular access point.
What does this mean to the average user in Philadelphia as opposed to Hong Kong?
Roughly, the same equivalent as one location having the fastest cable modem available while another location has 300 baud dialup connection.
This is an economic disadvantage that will be tough to overcome.