Saturday, January 31, 2009

America's Most Wired Cities

A good article on msn.com. Doesn't have much to do with Fon. LINK

America's Most Wired Cities

By Elizabeth Woyke, Forbes.com

Seattle takes the lead in our annual list of the most broadband-connected U.S. cities.

Move over, Atlanta. Seattle, home base of Microsoft and Amazon, is now the country's most wired city.

While these marquee names have long lent the Emerald City techy cachet, it was Seattle's increased use of broadband that powered it up Forbes' annual list of the 30 most broadband-connected cities in the U.S. High marks in two other wired city categories -- broadband access and Wi-Fi hot spots -- helped Seattle clinch the top spot.

Since 2007, Forbes has measured cities' wired quotient by computing the percentage of Internet users with high-speed connections and the number of companies providing high-speed Internet. Since many urban residents access the Internet by Wi-Fi, we also measure the number of public wireless Internet hotspots in a particular city.

Our formula remains the same as previous years with one exception: the addition of broadband penetration data from Scarborough Research. The change was made to complement similar data from Nielsen Online.

Though Atlanta, Forbes' top wired city in 2007 and 2008, has been dethroned, the Big Peach continues to ride high at No. 2. The Southeast telecommunications hub boasts plenty of broadband users and lots of broadband service providers.

Washington, D.C., rocketed from No. 11 last year to a solid No. 3. Like Seattle, it made dramatic progress in its broadband adoption rate. It also improved its Wi-Fi hotspot showing to rank second only to Seattle.

D.C. scoops up another honor this year, as the wired city to watch, thanks to technophile President Barack Obama. Obama's support for universal broadband and fluency with mobile devices is expected to boost Internet and Wi-Fi access nationwide.

Rounding out the top five wired cities are Orlando, Fla., and Boston. As the location of Walt Disney World, the destination of millions of tourists a year, Orlando is packed with broadband providers and Wi-Fi access points. Boston's strengths include a plethora of universities and an urbane population that help keep its broadband and Wi-Fi usage high.

The surprise of the list is Minneapolis, which improved its standing from No. 11 to No. 7, beating New York and Portland, Ore., among others. Minneapolis' secret? A particularly broad range of service providers, including a number of neighborhoods with 20 different access options for high-speed Internet.

North Carolina suffered the biggest drop, with Raleigh declining to No. 15 from No. 3 and Charlotte dropping to No. 20 from No. 7.

Three California powerhouse cities -- Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco -- shifted places this year to occupy the middle of the list. Los Angeles and San Diego improved their standings while San Francisco dropped seven places due to a relatively low number of broadband providers and Wi-Fi hotspots. However, its No. 1 rating in broadband adoption means that San Francisco can take pride in having the most tech-savvy residents of any U.S. city.

After California, Florida and Ohio placed the most cities on the list. Under Gov. Ted Strickland, Ohio has invested several millions of dollars in promoting Internet technology across the state. The ultimate goal is "100% broadband access in Ohio and greater awareness of the personal and economic growth potential" broadband can bring, says Keith Dailey, a spokesman for the Ohio governor's office.

Each year, a few cities slide off the list and a handful make their debut. Dallas and Houston fell just short of the top 30 this year while New Orleans (No. 18), Honolulu (No. 25), Cleveland (No. 26) and Austin, Texas, (No. 30) were added.

While this ranking aims to be as current as possible, advances in broadband technology sometimes outstrip the data available. Take No. 10 Baltimore and No. 14 Portland. The two cities are the first U.S. markets to be outfitted with Clearwire's new brand of superfast wireless broadband, WiMax. But the time lag inherent in collecting broadband data and the difficulty in measuring wireless broadband coverage by city means that neither city's standing takes WiMax into account.

That could change as soon as next year. A Federal Communications Commission spokesman says the agency plans to collect "considerably more detailed" information on broadband access in coming months. Mobile data usage is flourishing, which in turn is affecting the number of Wi-Fi hotspots that restaurants, caf├ęs and retailers offer.

Obama's technology policies may have the biggest impact. In October, the Senate approved the Broadband Data Improvement Act, which calls for better federal and state data on the availability and quality of broadband service in the U.S.

Obama's broadband policy came into focus last month with a proposal for $6 billion in grants for broadband infrastructure as part of a proposed economic stimulus package. The funds are intended to "provide business and job opportunities ... with benefits to e-commerce, education and health care" in underserved areas, according to the bill.

Technology policy groups are hoping for even greater government support. "It's a step in the right direction, but not as effective as what we need," says Robert Atkinson, president of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank. ITIF would like to see tax credit provisions for broadband as well as grants, which Atkinson calls "cumbersome" for companies.

"Investing in broadband will have an impact on jobs, education, health care and carbon emissions," says John Davies, vice president of Intel's World Ahead Program, which promotes technology access and education. So expect the next year or two to bring vast changes to all American cities, whatever their "wired" rank.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Lower Prices for Fon Passes

Looks like once again Martin decide to change the price of Fon passes. Although at this point we don't know what kind of change, but hopefully it will be a little better. The price of passes previously almost doubled in price. First $3 and $10 for a day pass and a pack of 5 day passes respectively. Currently, $4.90 and $14.90 for a day pass and a pack of 5 day passes respectively. Next step, probably somewhere in the middle.

From martins blog:

"We also have some things that we are playing against. As I warned my readers, we spend with the increase of fares for the aliens. We will lose again in two weeks. This was a mistake, but he showed the benefits for a CEO to have a blog. Bills criticized me when I realized I had made a mistake."


Express your opinion on the Fon Boards: "Lower passes prices in 2 weeks"

Looks like we will have to wait and see. I always thought that the prices were pretty good to begin with, but on the other hand almost all of the passes sold on my Fon Spot were sold when the prices were at the highest. So from what I get out of this is if you really have the need to WiFi (occasionally, not everyday), Fon is a viable option. At the current price of passes it would cost you almost $90 for an entire most of wifi passes (one pass a day). Seems like you might be better off paying for an internet connection and buying a Fonera to get the roaming that you may need. So if your an alien, think twice about your internet usage, think about Fon's poor coverage and reliability of their services before purchasing large amounts of day passes.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Fon 2008

Today I'm going to take a look at what Fon has accomplished (or lack of for that matter) during 2008 and what we could potentially see this year.

1) We saw the failure of the fontrepreneur program. It was a good idea, but it showed that foneros don't want to put out money and buy routers to help expand the community.

2) Fon started to offer unlimited access to GMAIL and other Google services at all Fonspots. Makes sense since Google provided funding for Fon, but to bad you don't have to authenticate to use these services. So in return, you have no idea who is using your connection.

3) La Fonera 2.0 was first mentioned last April and now is currently selling as a beta model. Firmware being developed by the fonosfera community started off slow, but now things are starting to pick up.

4) Fon raised an additional $9.5 million in funding.

5) Fon and BT started The World’s Biggest Mexican Wave.

6) Martin's Blog: "Why do some Foneros disconnect their Fonera WiFi router?" As if he already didn't know why people do it.

7) Martin releases Fon's economic figures back in May. Too bold of a move, it seemed to cause quite a stir amoungst the community. LINK

8) Change of FON_AP to FON_FREE_INTERNET. Somewhere I missed out on the free part.

9) Fon Russia and Comstar Partnership

10) The ZON@FON WiFi Community in Portugal

11) In July Fon Started a wiki. http://wiki.fon.com

12) FON’s partnership with Sony PSP

13) Joikusoft and FON unveil Wi-Fi HotSpot software for Mobile Phones. LINK

14) "One million Foneros!" hahaha...

15) Fon Raised the price of day passes, lowered the price of La Fonera, and limits the number of 15 minute free trials aliens can use.

16) Meraki comes out with their solar powered nodes and shortly afterwards Fon hints at their version of an outdoor fonera model.

17) I'm sure there is more, feel free to comment below.

Now onto 2009.

1) Fon should release a final version of La Fonera 2.0. Hopefully, as long as Fon doesn't screw anything up. The ideas are pretty good for it. As Long as its affordable, I'll buy one.

2) Maybe we'll see an outdoor fonera. More than likely it will be expensive and a piece a crap. It doesn't need to be a fancy router, it just needs to withstand the elements. Something like this will help Fon out a lot. Coverage is a huge issue that Fon has yet to deal with. Most people have their routers deep within their house, where the signal is lucky to reach outside. This doesn't benefit anyone, but the owner of the hotspot. An outdoor fonera will get that precious FON_FREE_INTERNET signal to cover more area and would help Fon and foneros.

3) I know Martin has hinted at this is the past, but maybe we could see a Wireless-N Fonera. Hopefully we won't see this.

4) Fon needs to develop better firmware for La Fonera and La Fonera+, along with new firmware for non-fon routers (linksys, etc...)

5) or Fon could just FAIL.... (always a possibility, really don't want this to happen)

Anyway, 2008 was a fun year for me and My Fon Blog. I saw Fon do some stupid stuff and some good stuff. Personally I'm looking forward to 2009, this could be a big year for Fon. On a side note, I finally got paid from selling passes on my Fon Spot, almost $30. So it is possible to make money from Fon (It took me two years to get there and most of it was made in the last 2 months). So Fon can do good, it just depends on location. If they can continue to expand the community, we might just be getting somewhere. Who knows, we'll just have to wait and see.

I'm pretty sure I missed stuff, so if you have any ideas, comments, or thoughts, feel free to comment below or drop me an email. Have Fon everybody!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year From My Fon Blog!