Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What part of "NO, THANK YOU" don't you understand?

Well it seems like our old friend E-Path is back on the agenda for City Council again.

According to Jim Coston's blog the CEO of this company that is desperate to build a city-wide WiFi mesh here in Trenton will visit Council and listen to their questions.

Questions, by the way, that the Palmer Administration has asked be submitted to them by Friday.

Ok, Mr. Pintella and Ms. Staton; Ms. Feigenbaum and Mr. Gonzalez; Douglas and Renee; in case you didn't get it the first few times we ran this by you:

Municipal WiFi models have yet to live up to their hype and promise.
E-Path has yet to deliver a system anywhere (read this or this -- including the comments or this).

Larger, more advanced and experienced corporations with deeper pockets have pulled out of the Municipal WiFi market.

These are facts, plain and simple.

Knowing and understanding all of the above, please tell us why the cash-strapped City of Trenton should commit to a contract with company that hasn't and probably won't build the system to deliver the services specified in the contract?

If you all are so damn sure that this will fly...let E-Path build the system and demonstrate it's total functionality and reliability. Then, and only then, should you have reason to come before Council and request approval of a contract for services.

Got it?

3 comments:

Chrissy said...

Maybe I'm dense too, because I just don't get why this whole wifi thing is such a big deal. Those of us with computers most likely have internet access at home, and even possibly wifi networks. Those of us with laptops are able to sit out in our yards or on our porches -- if we want to risk the robbery -- and access our own wireless network, as well as possibly a few others in our neighborhoods. If we get out of the neighborhood with our laptops, we're able to access the internet from a whole bunch of businesses in the area. Then there are those of us with the blackberries and iPhones, and those devices are able to access the web with existing wireless phone technology, no? I might be an overly negative hater, and yeah, sure, maybe E-Path could hypothetically provide all of this and more for cheaper (someday? somehow?), but the thing is, they've been falling down rather consistently, and I just don't see the draw of wandering willy-nilly around Trenton with a wireless device (or anywhere...but specifically Trenton...I mean, what am I gonna do? Send messages to all my hater friends, like, "Hey! I'm accessing the web on Hermitage Avenue, and haven't been shot yet!" or "Look at me! I'm using my webcam from Perry Street and no one has taken it from me by force yet!") There is just no damn appeal for me, even if you remove the criminal element, and turned Trenton into Hopewell: I am not going to video conference with anyone from some random field, and have no need to send an email the very second I'm on some random street, anywhere. Instant technology IS cool, but can wait the five minutes until I get my butt back into my computer chair at home, or at the cafe with wireless access. And if it can't wait, we all have cell phones now, and can call each other. Or am I missing something?

Nicholas Stewart said...

But their business model REQUIRES an anchor tenant for their project to be considered viable. IT IS REQUIRED!

Too bad Trenton doesn't REQUIRE any commitments from developers and vendors.

Old Mill Hill said...

Chrissy,

And the idea that this city wide, "low cost" WiFi mesh is going to help bridge the "digital divide" is proven bogus by your comments.

Almost anyone with a computer and/or cell phone can be in touch anytime,nearly anywhere.

Most people have computer access on the job.

Our students have computer access in school. And if they don't, then that is where we should be focusing our energies and funds.

The public libraries and various social service agencies also provide for computer access for those who wish to avail themselves of it.

Nicholas,

You make an interesting point. If we were as diligent about getting legally binding committments from developers, we might not be so far behind the eight ball on projects like the Town Center, Performa, etc.

I should hope the five thinking members of City Council who voted this project down before will hold their ground. Personally, I would be insulted that the Administration is so blatantly trying to ram this down our collective throat and would refuse to even entertain the revisitation of the topic.