Peter Cochrane's Blog: Wireless access - the US v Europe

Lessons from across the pond...
What a lot of interesting replies and reactions to my recent post on the IT 'SS'. I'd say half get it and the other half need to book a flight to the US to give it a try.

While they are there they should take a look at the road system and the airports too. We have a choice, we really do - to build an inclusive or exclusive society. The EU is about exclusion, stopping people doing things by price, poor facilities or control freak mentalities. The US is about inclusion, making things available so that people may participate and succeed.

Unless you have been here and tried it you probably won't get it - and hey, you don't have to. If you don't know what you are missing, what's the problem?

Ask yourself the question: why is the productivity per capita in the US two times that of the EU? Might it be to do with infrastructure - road, rail, air transport and communication networks and connectivity? I reckon the UK is losing around 20 per cent per annum because people cannot get where they want to go or communicate. But perhaps this is a topic for another blog...

The cost of providing Wi-Fi access is less than $1 per day so why charge and why try to protect it? The really smart folks can break in at will, and if they were really intent on doing serious harm they would have done so by now.

It doesn't take a lot of imagination to really secure the important stuff. But I suppose it will be like everything else in the EU - we will have to wait for the control freaks to die before we see them replaced by those who really get IT.

And at risk of belabouring the point... I have just been joined by two American refugees from a local Washington DC hotel who are totally outraged at being asked for $9.00 to connect to the internet at 6Mbps from their room. And I can understand it! The towels, soap and shampoo cost $6.50 and they don't charge for them, so why include internet access on the bill when it cost less than $1?


Peter Cochrane is an engineer, scientist, entrepreneur, futurist and consultant. He is the former CTO and head of research at BT, with a career in telecoms and IT spanning more than 40 years.

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