Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Ubiquitous free broadband -- it's coming, and soon!

USA TODAY says it, so it has to be true:
Free broadband for America has inched closer to reality: The plan, after two years of debate, is finally on the calendar for a full vote by the Federal Communications Commission.
Assuming the plan is approved at the FCC's Dec. 18 meeting, one of the agency's last before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, free broadband could become reality within a year.

That means not only your laptop but your car, your utility meter, your refrigerator (!) will be able to connect to the Internet from just about anywhere. Think about it. You can start your car, have your house warming up, check the roast in the crock pot, set your DVR to record that show you forgot about, and...ready...work 20 meter CW on your home rig and big antenna...all from your desk or while having an after-work drink with your buds.

The possibilities boggle the mind of a guy like me who has been alive in seven decades. I remember when we had three (THREE!) TV channels. When the only broadcast radio we could hear at night was Chicago or St. Louis. When mail had no "e" in front of it. When ordering Christmas presents out of a catalog meant a paper catalog, a money order, and a trip to the post office sometime in October.

What other possibilities does ubiquitous, instantaneous connectivity promise? What is the potential impact on how people communicate, how they get their entertainment, how they use media, how they live their lives? When your thermostat on the wall at home, your locker at the gym, your car, and your dog all have IP addresses and are accessible from any computer or handheld communcation device (no longer just a "cell phone" or "PDA")?

Take a deep breath and hang on!

Don Keith N4KC

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