Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ten cities for Wi-Fi MANs

The UK chancellor announced in his budget today a commitment to funding wifi in the ten largest cities in the UK.  Of course, at this point there's no details on when and how users will get access to these MANs (Metropolitan Area Networks) - note he didn't say "free wi-fi" - however I think this should be applauded as a powerful investment in the IT infrastructure of the UK and is another boost for WiFi itself as the future of wireless networking, especially as discussions over 4G carry on their slow path (see previous blog entry "WiFi Nearly Everywhere" ).

Of course, I could moan that they are ignoring the rural areas (and, no doubt I will), but honestly where did we expect them to start? It has to be the largest cities.  Though he offers £50million for smaller areas too, so no doubt rural areas can bid for a part of that.

So, good work Mr. Chancellor.  Vendors - let's get this stuff installed.

Other cities/towns and yes even villages take note and its time to consider investing in Wi-Fi like you do in street lights and pavements, what about a solar-panel and wind-powered unit to sit on the top of all of our churches "surf and pray"?  The rest of us should keep buying Wi-Fi enabled devices, use our devices wherever we can, applaud those organisations that offer Wi-Fi services and march together to the always-on community we know is the future.


See below for the chancellor's statement:

To be Europe’s technology centre we also need the best technology infrastructure. 

Two years ago Britain had some of the slowest broadband speeds in Europe; today our plans will deliver some of the fastest – with 90 per cent of the population having access to superfast broadband, and improved mobile phone coverage for rural areas and along key roads across the UK.
But we should not be complacent by saying it is enough to be the best in Europe when countries like Korea and Singapore do even better.
So today we’re funding ultra fast broadband and wifi in ten of the UK’s largest cities.
Belfast, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle and London.
My HF for Brighton Kempton asked me to help small cities too – no doubt with his own city in mind.

I agree. £50m will be available for smaller cities too.

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