Another company springs up in the US (to acclaim from the tech community) to encourage people to share their broadband using their wireless network equipment. Joltage’s idea is similar to what Sputnik wants to do (except unlike Sputnik it doesn’t seem to be open source). The key (to me) is in this para from this Wired report:
“At $50 per month, a DSL line — if shared by multiple users — could easily eat up several hundreds of dollars’ worth of wholesale network traffic at the back end.
“As ISPs realize this stuff is going on, they’re going to start looking closer at the heavy traffic users,” said Mike Durkin, president of Raw Bandwidth Communications, a Belmont, California, provider of home DSL service. “Think Napster and how ISPs and universities can block it.”
I think this is where the whole concept will come unglued unless the telcos also get a slice. If they do get a slice, though, it could be a good business, especially if standard antennas start offering greater range. It might also be a good way to encourage the development of community-wide networks run by not-for-profit organizations in depressed areas (a particular interest of mine).
A depressing side note – it is possible that 802.11a – the higher speed, incompatible upgrade due in November – may have a smaller range (60 feet vs 300 feet), so if people start migrating to that then the opportunities for neighborhood-wide sharing would be less. (Another publication says that the range should be the same).