[Cialug] ICN/Community Wireless

Tom Poe tompoe at fngi.net
Sun Oct 14 00:40:18 CDT 2007

Tom Poe wrote:
> Jeffrey C. Ollie wrote:
>> I've been reading the "wireless communities in Iowa" thread and I think
>> that there's some misunderstandings and confusions going on here.
- - - snip - - -
It might be good to remind ourselves that the ICN was built and 
continues to operate out of the state budget.  That means, the residents 
of Iowa paid, and continue to pay for the ICN.  The state administrates 
the use of the ICN on behalf of the residents of Iowa.  We own the 
airwaves.  We own the ICN.  As Jeff pointed out, the ICN dates back a 
lot of years.  It will indeed change, to meet the needs of the owners 
(that's us).  One of the ways it will change, is by providing a "last 
mile solution" for our kids to access the ICN from their homes, in order 
to receive the kind of education (21st century education) they deserve.  
To the ICN's credit, those in charge, like Joseph Cassis agree.  A few 
months ago, the DM Register published a Letter to the Editor, which 
raised the issue of providing a "last mile solution" for our kids, and 
for all kids in Iowa.  It wasn't four hours later, that Joseph called me 
to learn more about Meraki units and how such a community initiative 
might fit with the ICN's work.  Unfortunately, no action has been 
forthcoming.  Whether wireless and fiber optic networks can work 
together to provide maximal use of the ICN by those on the "authorized" 
list continues to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, as Jeff 
mentioned, and certainly not ruled out by anyone I have been in contact 
with.  To do so, would be foolish. 

In almost every rural community with an ICN termination point, wireless 
connections between the schools in the community and the ICN termination 
point seems to be feasible, as opposed to running cable.  It makes even 
more sense to consider affordable "last mile solution" options that 
utilize wireless connections such as a wireless mesh network for our 
kids.  Why?  Because the encumbents are dead set against providing an 
affordable "last mile solution".  If they won't work with the ICN to do 
anything, then it's up to the owners of the ICN to work together to get 
it done.  We own the airwaves, and we own the ICN.  We're all on the 
same team.  It's the corporations, the for-profit thugs that are on the 
other side, not the ICN. 

I don't think anyone wants the ICN to compete with Qwest or Mediacom.  I 
do think everyone wants the state to provide access to the ICN as a 
utility, a state-run utility that provides backhaul for communications, 
for education, and other worthy purposes, as illustrated in their list 
of "authorized" users.  Interestingly, as of February, 2009, the number 
of members of that list will grow significantly, as our country loses 
the analog technology and switches to digital.  With any luck, Iowa will 
be on the front lines, acknowledging that the ICN is the lifeblood of 
all of us, and we deserve the same level of service as the Japanese 
enjoy with their fiber optic network.

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