Logan Airport’s free wi-fi isn’t doing the job. (Latencies up to a second and a half, 7% packet loss.) In fact, the only reason I can continue with this post is that I’ve switched to my iPhone’s “personal hot spot,” which turns AT&T’s 3G data network to wi-fi I can use. On Logan’s connection I couldn’t do anything over the Net, other than that ping test.
Now on AT&T’s 3G, I’m getting a “D+” grade from Speedtest.net, but I’m also able to function over a connection it rates at 2.67Mbps down and .67Mbps up. I’m only here for an hour, so I can live with that.
But I also have to live with knowing that the data is costing me $25/mo. for 2Gb, plus $10 for each additional 1Gb. Or is it $45 for using the tethering (as I am now)? And it’s a pain in the butt to keep worrying about whether I’m running up a big bill. (Never mind that I’m going to Canada, where I won’t use any telco data, thanks to onerous “roaming” charges if I try.)
Just here in the States, there’s a tug-of-billing-plans between Apple and AT&T. What started as $25 for unlimited data (very Steve Jobs, that simplicity) is now this:
Data will allow you to access the internet, surf the Web, and check email.
Data 200MB 2GB 4GB and Mobile Hotspot** Additional Data $15 per 200MB $10 per 1GB $10 per 1GB Per Month $15 $25 $45
** Tethering allows you to share the 3G connection on your iPhone with your Mac notebook or PC laptop and connect to the Internet. When your iPhone is tethered, you can still send and receive data and make phone calls.
Very telco, that; though not nearly as complex as it would have been if Apple weren’t a party to the deal.
By the way, I don’t begrudge AT&T making money. In fact, I’m happy for them (and Apple, and anybody in the Net infrastructure business) to make money, and want to encourage them to build out as much capacity as they can.
I just know how telcos work, which is primarily as billing systems and secondarily as plain infrastructure. We also pay for other utilities — water, electricity, gas —but in less sphinctered ways. And un-sphinctered service is what we’ll need if we really are going to live in the clouds.
[Later...] Dig David Scott Williams‘ Rain From the Cloud Doesn’t Fall in This Desert, and his comments below. I especially like “drinking the milkshake of the cloud internet through my coffee stirrer,” which links back to that same post.
Open connections are as important as having roads, water and electricity. In too much of the world — and remarkably, too much of the U.S. — the long- promised “information superhighway” still isn’t paved.
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