Brookline selects Wi-Fi proposal and schedules public hearing

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The Town of Brookline has selected a proposal for a public private partnership to build a municipal wireless network and scheduled a public hearing for Monday April 10 at 7:30 PM in the community room in the public safety building.

For the last eight months I have had the pleasure of working at town hall on muni Wi-Fi and some other IT projects. A combination of forward thinking ciitizens, dedicated staff, and enthusiastic elected officials has fueled the wireless initiative that promises to be the first comprehensive muni Wi-Fi network in the area. The town hopes to have the network up by mid fall.

The multipurpose network will provide residents and local businesses with a new pipe for broadband services while offering free community access in commercial districts, parks, and public housing, as well as for municipal and public safety workers. The network will be open, allowing numerous providers to compete for wireless broadband customers.

The selected propsoal which is still up for final negotiations, is from Galaxy Internet Services (a MA based ISP) and NeoReach (behind WAZ networks including Tempe, NV). The network will utilize equipment from SkyPilot that offers simultaneous use of 2.4, 4.9, and 5.8 GHz frequencies for Wi-Fi, public safety, and backhaul (respectively).

Dutch court upholds Creative Commons license

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In yet another exciting court decision (well perhaps the excitement comes from the anticipating the impact rather than reading the actual court decision) the Creative Commons license has been upheld in a court decision in the Netherlands.

The decision does not involve a book, paper, song, or anything some of us might have expected, but rather some personal photographs posted by a semi-celebrity on Flickr and reprinted by a Dutch gossip magazine.

So perhaps this case is not merely a critical affirmation of the viability of an alternative intellectual property scheme but alas, also a reflection of our pop culture driven attention deficit disordered world. But then I guess as far as legal precedents go, the inclusion of a celebrity, some photos, and a tabloid, could help to fuel public awareness.

FSF and the GPL prevail in court

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The code long ago proved its technical endurance and in recent years has made headlines with investors but until this past week has been largely untested in the courts. But this spring advocates of open source intellectual property already have two cases to celebrate.

First comes news that the Free Software Foundation has been successful in a requested court dismissal of the Wallace complaint. Groklaw provides complete coverage on the case and eloquently observes:

>So, the end result is, the GPL went to court, and the judge not only upheld it, he said this:

[T]he GPL encourages, rather than discourages, free competition and the distribution of computer operating systems, the benefits of which directly pass to consumers. These benefits include lower prices, better access and more innovation.

>I’m sure that was not Mr. Wallace’s intention, to strenghten the GPL. But he did. (GL)

terms of Earthlink-Philadelphia deal disclosed

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The Earthlink-Philadelphia contract has been sent to the city council for
approval. Here are the terms:

The contract term is 10 years (seems like a long time to me);

Earthlink will rent 4000 light poles from the city at $74 per year per
pole (approximately $300,000 per year);

Earthlink will subsidize Internet access for low-income families at $9.95
per month

Earthlink will share revenue with the city and pay $2 million in the first
two years as prepayment of future shared revenue. Wireless Philadelphia,
the non-profit set up by the city, will receive 5% of Earthlink’s revenue
derived from the provision of wireless Internet access in the city. The
money will be used for social programs to provide 10,000 computers and
training to kids and low-income households;

The city government gets free or very cheap wireless access and discounted
T-1 access (which allows the city to cancel existing expensive T-1 lines)
as well.

Earthlink has stated that it will cost over $20 million to build out the
network and that it expects full citywide coverage by early 2007. The
company believes it can sign up over 50,000 subscribers in two years.
Since the city’s network is based on a wholesale, open access model,
Earthlink will also sell wholesale access to other ISPs at less than $12
per month – this will allow the other services providers to keep the rate
that they charge to customers under $20.

bill seeks to preserve network neutrality

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The tide could be turning in Congress where a new bill seeks to preserve network neutrality more or less as we know it. Previous legislative efforts fueled by telco lobbyists and uniformed law makers sought to create a tiered Internet where service providers could impose additional fees upon both content providers and consumers based upon speed and preferences.

March 2, 2006
Senate Bill to Address Fears of Blocked Access to Net

By KEN BELSON
Senator Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon, will introduce new legislation today that would prohibit Internet network operators from charging companies for faster delivery of their content to consumers or favoring some content providers over others.

The bill is meant to ease growing fears that open Internet access may be blocked or compromised by the Bell phone carriers and cable operators, which may create tiers of service for delivering content to consumers, much the way the post office charges more for overnight mail delivery than for regular delivery.

Consumer groups and Internet companies like Google and Amazon contend that any move by the network operators to levy fees for premium delivery service would harm Web sites that are unwilling to pay for faster delivery.

The Wyden legislation, called the Internet Non-Discrimination Act of 2006, aims to prohibit network operators from assessing charges that give some content providers better access than others or blocking its subscribers from accessing content.

“You best compete by letting every company play on a level field, but these proposals would tilt the field,” Senator Wyden said of the plans discussed by some network operators. “The Net has been about access and equal treatment and giving everyone a fair shake, and people who own these fat pipes, these cable and telecommunications people who say that they can’t keep doing this, want to undermine that.”

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