Joshua Gans thinks I might be right on VoIP and broadband.

Joshua Gans quotes my recent post on broadband and VoIP approvingly which I’m pleased about because he knows a lot more about both the economics and the technology of it than me.

He puts the issue pithily. “Households are not the relevant unit for purchasing broadband; neighbourhoods are.” His full post is below the fold, and also at the other end of the link above.

Nick Gruen describes his experiences in networking his house and extolls the virtues of WiFi. His main idea - which is something I have thought about too for some time - is that we are thinking about wireless networking the wrong way. Currently, it is seen as a security threat - the view of the veto holder in our household. One reason for it being seen that way is that it is; outsiders can surf on your bandwidth and can also potentially access your own data. The latter is a big problem (although it is likely to pervade wired as much as wireless networks) while the former is, as Gruen points out, the solution to other issues. Namely, households are not the relevant unit for purchasing broadband; neighbourhoods are. Saavy internet providers should be thinking about how to network neighbourhoods. Of course, I am almost sure there are terms in network access agreements that surely prevent this. But if that is the case, then it is removing restrictions on legitimate sharing and neighbourhood investment that should be a priority for governments.
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