There exists a growing controversy over whether the government should be in the business of providing wireless broadband Internet. Public sector entities, particularly counties and cities, are developing the physical and intellectual infrastructure designed to provide wireless broadband Internet to their residents. Opponents of government entry into the wireless broadband market argue that existing private broadband vendors are fully capable of providing wireless Internet in an efficient manner. Supporters argue that government is uniquely capable of building and supporting, at least initially, wireless broadband at a lower cost and in a more pluralistic and efficient manner than private vendors have done thus far.
Key Terms in this Chapter
IEEE: The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) is a self described technical professional society, whose mission is to set engineering standards with respect to a number of disciplines, including computer technology.
Wireless Internet: Internet access provided through a wireless device, such as a wireless laptop, personal digital assistant or cell phone.
Public Wireless Internet: Wireless Internet access provided by a public sector entity, such as a city or county. The predominant model in the United States comprises, 1. a private sector firm selected by competitive bid to provide Internet service, 2. the firm agrees to provide a wide array of services, including multiple access speeds and bandwidth offerings, and, 3. the firm agrees to provide a wide array of price points, including a low or no cost service to the general public.
UMTS: UMTS or universal mobile telecommunications systems represents wireless mobile home standard and is considered a both a supplement and competitor to WiMax. It is implemented in Europe. Data rates are slower that WiFi or WiMax at less than 2Mbps, but it has a range comparable to WiMax.
WiMAX: WiMax or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access is a set of compatibility standards for wireless networks supported by the WiMax Alliance. The basic WiMax standard is 802.16 It is faster than WiFi (75Mbps maximum) and has superior range, of up to31 miles. WiMax is designed primarily for data transmission.
World Wide Web: The portion of the Internet structured for use with a web browser. The Web is a subset of the Internet.
Bluetooth: A telecommunications specification describing methods of interconnecting wireless digital devices, such as computers, personal digital assistants, cell phone and digital appliances.
WiFi: WiFi or Wireless Fidelity is a set of compatibility standards for wireless networks licensed by the WiFi Alliance. WiFi standards are 802.11a, 802.11b, and 802.11c. Data transmission rates range from 1Mbps to 66Mbps. The effective range is a quarter of a mile out of doors and 300 feet indoors. WiFi is designed primarily for data transmission.
Internet: A global array of computers connected by a network, utilizing technologies (primarily Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) that facilitates transmission of data supporting traditional Internet services (hypertext, file transfer protocol, telnet, simple mail transport protocol and others).
E-Government: Government services provided via electronic means, most prominently via the Internet.