There is this anazing concept of public Broadband (also known as municipal WiFi or muni WiFi). The local council or municipalty installs WiFi across a big area, town or city and this is an unprotected network open to public.
U.S. is pioneer of this concept and they have been planning or rolling it out across many cities. Have a look at this Top 10 Municipal WiFi Plans from Businessweek for more info.
ABI Research forecasts that the total global area covered by municipal Wi-Fi will expand nearly sixty-fold from 520 square miles in 2004 to 30,000 square miles in 2012.
The analyst firm said that the US leads in municipal Wi-Fi deployments, but that Canada, Japan, South Korea and Western Europe are rapidly expanding municipal Wi-Fi infrastructure and applications.
Varying levels of maturity and acceptance exist within the market, spread across global regions and individual countries.
ABI believes that the US employs the wrong business plan of free consumer access and free infrastructure, and that incumbent service providers view municipal Wi-Fi as a competitive threat.
In Europe, mobile-oriented rather than PC-oriented incumbents initially resisted municipal Wi-Fi but now recognise in-building limitations.
Stan Schatt, vice president and research director at ABI Research, highlighted key financial benefits that should be included in the municipal Wi-Fi business case.
"Wireless surveillance systems, for example, will provide financial returns by helping prevent possible terrorist attacks, decreasing overall crime, improving traffic flow, and even boosting tourism by creating stable communities," he said.
Once the technology, business and cost issues are resolved, however, Schatt predicts that nations will benefit from this simple and low-cost broadband internet access technology, consequently broadening the range of networked services.
Ofcourse not everyone is happy and everyone has their own opinion on how it should run.
There is also ad powered WiFi hotspots springing up in different places which will provide higher speeds than compared to this muni Wi-Fi but you will have to click on some ad every hour or two and once WiMAX is commonly available this muni Wi-Fi thing may seem like an expensive experiment because with WiFi there needs to be a router or repeater every few hundred metres which takes effort to install and maintain and is expensive peice of equipment. Lets see what happens.