Posted by Prashant Jethwa
We all wish that we could have the best mobile broadband available and that it was pretty much free to use. Well, it looks like Washington DC is moving a long way towards that ideal in its latest plans. What is happening and is this the last step to opening the city up to broadband connections that will benefit the whole population? To answer this question it is important to look at the details of the plans and their ramifications.
The project proposed by the city is commonly known as D.C. Community Access Network (DC-CAN). It is a pioneering scheme by the District of Columbia to try to connect every ward in the city by the middle of 2013. It is an ambitious project and is jointly funded by a grant from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to the tune of $17.5 million. The original scheme was looking to roll out with 10GB speeds. But with the swift advance of technological developments in this area, this is soon to be upgraded to 100GB.
The project is going to make use of the already installed network, which spans about 290 miles and which was originally constructed eight years ago, back in 2003. That was to merely serve government agencies in the capital. The new proposal will add 170 miles of additional network. This will connect up to anchor points, such as healthcare facilities, schools, community colleges, libraries and other institutions. It will particularly target places where otherbroadband options have been slow in being adopted to the last mile and end user. Here take up is under 50%, hovering in fact nearer 40%. This low figure is no surprise and is a consequence of the economic situation, which has hit harder in these more deprived districts.
One venture that this project will be compared with is the one Google is rolling out in Kansas City. This is a lightning-fast fire-optic network that will go the last mile to the end user at about 1GB per home. Washington is a little different. Yes, it aims to be the first 100GB city. Yes, it should achieve not far off those speeds on average to the core institutions at the network nexus points. But there is currently no last-mile solution to close the loop to home users and businesses.
However, this Washington D.C. solution will be an open-access network. This should result in an influx of last-mile connection companies and providers who can connect the high-speed network to the end user, hopefully at a price that will encourage mass uptake this time. But even so, the network of broadband to public access and community points will ultimately benefit Washington residents substantially. It is also hoped that it will help to educate and inform residents more widely, improve public-safety communications and aid the new wave of in-home medical applications and monitoring services that have been proposed.
It is also likely that institutions will enable wireless connections across their territories, which will provide some of the best mobile broadband capabilities to users, especially at colleges, for the rapid and effective dissemination of information. Overall, this project is to be applauded for its foresight and boldness. At last there seems to be a practical and pragmatic desire from politicians to advance with these kinds of technological developments.
About the Author:The above article is composed and edited by Rosette Summer. She is associated with many technology and designing communities including Broadband Expert as their freelance writer and adviser. In her free time she writes articles related to technology, best mobile broadband, mobile applications, etc.