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back to article Google launches US wireless crusade

Google is flirting with yet another effort to offer unfettered internet access over American airwaves, and as usual, it's facing endless back-and-forth with the FCC. Last Thursday, the world's largest search engine sent a note to the good ol' Federal Communications Commission, expressing its interest in a wireless internet …

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Anonymous Coward

That's annoying

2.1 GHz is where UMTS is supposed to be. I suppose we can kiss byebye to any hope of the USA finally having a compatible mobile phone system.

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@ That's annoying

Don't be silly! America IS the world, and anyone who uses anything different MUST be wrong! (and for those of you who didn't spot it, that was satire).

Seriously, trying to get any american authority to adhere to any 'Global' system is pretty close to impossible, I believe this to be due to a combination of Ignorance and Arrogance.

I hope Google (or one of the similar outfits) DO get a band for free access WiFi, this would then open up the internet for a whole new spectrum of the population for whom this was previously not available due to financial restrictions. (OK, they still need a computer, but I suspect there will be charities who could supply these).

Tim

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@Tim Schorner

Rather than insulting the United States and the people who regulate its utilities, could you tell us what benefit accrues to the United States from adhering to 'Global systems'?

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@john blackley

"..what benefit accrues to the United States from adhering to 'Global systems'?"

Well, first of all, it means that US companies would find a home market for consumer electronics that they could also sell abroad. That means US customers would likely be able to get those products cheaper, and also have access to products manufactured abroad. Which is probably why those US manufacturers lobby so hard to NOT use global standard equipment.

European and Japanese companies sell millions of euro/yen/dollars worth of equipment abroad. Few US companies do, unless they are actually manufactured by european/far east subsiduries, in which case workers in the US see no benefit whatsoever.

There was a time when US electronics companies where big names in Europe, now they are largely distant memories, or 'brands' being used by far-east companies.

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Market forces

It's quite simple actually. If the USA uses the same phones as everyone else, that means the phones they use are being sold into a market of several billion, rather than only a few hundred million. This makes them much cheaper, and also means that the development of these phones is amortized over a much larger market- which is why GSM phones look and feel so much better than most CDMA phones.

Using a consistent global phone standard like UMTS benefits everyone. Imagine never having to wonder whether your phone would work on vacation. Imagine being able to buy any phone you wanted, from any country, and never having to wait for the nifty new Japanese (or Finnish, or Korean) idea in phones to filter down. Imagine having a choice not of thirty or forty models, but of thousands of models which you could freely choose.

Americans are supposed to be the world's greatest capitalists, and yet they allow totalitarian mobicos to force them into using crappy handsets on obscure frequencies. Why is that?

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@ John A Blackley

The benefit to the US of States about adopting Global systems is it opens up more markets as against a proprietary system useful only to 300million. Like about 7 Billion.

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that would break up the monoply

Come on now you know us Yanks aren't going to UMTS that would break up Qualcomm's monoply AND we all know that W wouldn't let that happen.

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Anonymous Coward

software-defined radio

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Software-defined_radio might save us all

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Similar to DVD Regionalization

The discussion here sounds very similar to DVD Regionalization -- why intentionally cripple the functionality of media outside of your country? I think the answer is the same in both the DVD and Mobile phone cases -- it is to intentionally stifle international competition...

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@ Everybody

I think a lot of times, ESPECIALLY when it comes to all this telcom stuff that people outside the US mistake what Americans (or the "US") want for what our telcom companies want. They would like to bleed us dry. Also, the US is a huge country and our telcoms aren't as maneuverable as many other smaller countries.

We WOULD like to have everything compatible and we don't like our telcom companies, but it's an uphill battle trying to change things. Not enough people really have the time or even knowledge to protest against what's going on. People realize they're getting screwed somehow, but don't quite know enough about the subject to do anything. Plus, a lot of times life is just too hectic to really worry about what's going on with your internet or cell phone.

I'm sure people will wake up someday, but until then at least we have Google.

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@ John A Blackley again

"....could you tell us what benefit accrues to the United States from adhering to 'Global systems'?"

That is exactly the mindset that people rail against. The US is only part of a very much larger piece of dry land which encompasses Latin America and Canada. However, it constantly practises isolationist policies not only in relation to telecomms. These policies are harmful to some of its neighbours and certainly to its own markets where growth and innovation are by design muted. Contrast the rest of the world where GSM and latterly UMTS are making huge enabling changes to the very fabric of society itself. The sheer scale of global (except for the US and Japan) interworking is growing relentlessly and may even leave those two countries behind in due course.

The only way to cross these borders and remain in fully mobile communications is to carry [more expensive than needs be and] purpose-designed multi-band handsets. And then if you travel across the US you soon realise how fragmented pocketised (I made that word up) their networks are.

The bit that gets missed by the US in this respect is the "comms" or communications bit of the word Telecommunications. By going it alone when it comes to mobile phone standards the US stifles is own market through its protectionism. Whats up? Are the US mobile networks and manufacturers really so terrified about competition for [network and terminal] equipment from the rest of the real world?

Witness Apple's iPhone - in US terms perfect. In global terms a disaster waiting to happen. What a joke it is that non-US networks are having to retrofit EDGE to accommodate this communications abortion of a device. How completely backward-looking. What an advertisement for US technological entrophy.

The glitzy UI will sell the iPhone, but thats all that will. And, as usual, the global standards will move on at a pace that the US citizens will not be able to enjoy. Where is the US's ubiquitous 3G, or is HSDPA or HSUPA? Where is its ability to allow its citizens to [mobile] roam freely across the other 7/8's of the globe without let or hinderance? Even the African nations are getting better mobile comms than the US citizens!

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Before you think USians are too crazy...

Before you think USians are too crazy for not just auctioning off 2100 for UMTS, realize the 2100 band being auctioned in the US is not standard anyway; the 2100 band used internationally uses a 1900mhz uplink, at least 10 years after 1900 was already in use here in the states for cellular phone service. So, the US 2100 band is going to be 2100/1700. So, even if the 2100 band is used for UMTS, it's going to need special phones anyway.

I'm personally technology agnostic, as long as my phone works. But, the big two are Verizon Wireless (with CDMA) and AT&T (with GSM). Well, I don't know what AT&T is doing, but it seems to be the norm for their service to garble, drop calls, have the audio just drop out, and have text messages be delayed hours to a day or more. (I have read that half-rate codec is hardly ever used in Europe; it has been turned on network-wide by AT&T within the last year or two!) The UMTS buildout is VERY limited so far, covering jujst a few bigger cities (and not a complete buildout in those cities as yet.) T-Mobile is supposed to be nice, except they have limited coverage; out of coverage, most likely you're roaming on AT&T. in the rural West, most GSM is provided by Alltel, who actually is a CDMA provider but has a GSM roamer network. Alltel's cell sites tend to be 10-12 miles apart, and apparently the way they have it tuned the GSM net will drop calls between cell sites. Other providers reportedly vary wildly in coverage, quality, and data speeds (some networks will somehow manage only 40kbps with EDGE).

On the other hand, Verizon Wireless has at the best very clear call quality, and I have seldom had a bad sounding call.. When I had AT&T GSM (when they always used full-rate) it sounded at least as good as Verizon Wireless at it's best, but as I say, full-rate isn't used much anymore. I've roamed quite a bit on other CDMA providers, and basicallly they tend to have good call quality and fast text message times too (although, certainly, a few do not.) The 1X data these have will get around 80-128kbps. EVDO will do 2 or 3 mbps, and Verizon Wireless at least is installing it at a fairly rapid pace (they don't have it yet where I live though 8-( .)

I wouldn't give a toss if we did go all GSM, but only if they keep up to the reported quality of the European GSM providers, not the low quality of the US GSM providers.

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