Trying to get your city to go for wireless? Think apps, not access

Trying to get your city to go for wireless? Think apps, not access

Summary: Writing on Government Computer News, Shawn McCarthy of IDC argues that city managers are no longer impressed with talk about wirless networks bridging the digital divide. They want to see hard numbers on how a network is going to make government activities more efficient.

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TOPICS: Government US
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Writing on Government Computer News, Shawn McCarthy of IDC argues that city managers are no longer impressed with talk about wirless networks bridging the digital divide. They want to see hard numbers on how a network is going to make government activities more efficient. Shawn writes:

It’s not simply a matter of building the infrastructure and waiting for the users to line up, says Paul Butcher, marketing manager for state and local government at Intel Corp. He said only talking about wireless network access “fell on its face

Topic: Government US

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  • It seems to be coming full circle

    It seems the phenomenon of municipal wireless is coming full circle. In the beginning I don't believe government executives looking to build wireless networks were focused on citizen access and bridging the Digital Divide but were intersted in the efficiencies that such a network could bring to operations in such areas as utilities management and improving the productivity of courts to cite two examples of applications. Then, only after private entities started to provide hotSpots at places like Starbucks did city governments start to see the economic development value in building this access across their cities .

    In several ways, state and local governments are competing to attract residents and local businesses to their states just as competing phone companies would vie for more customers and they see broadband as a way to distinguish themselves in that marketplace. This breeds what some see as an unfortunate practice of local governments opting to build their own wireless Internet networks in order to meet their needs, which ends up creating a conflict with the phone and cable companies that would normally provide that access.

    As I see it, cities and counties are not meeting the needs of telecom companies and telecom companies are not meeting the needs of the cities and counties they have offices in.

    In this light, the current spate of federal and state legislation seeking to define what may ultimtely be viewed as a utility along with gas and electricity is mutually destructive to both government efforts to serve residents and phone companies desire to do business.

    I'm sure that if all the parties were willing to come together they could work out a compromise that would achieve everybody's objectives.
    cmckenna@...