annoyances technology

Crowdsourcing In Overloading Cell Phone Providers

The inauguration of president-elect Barack Obama, aside from logistical issues, will create a communication nightmare. The anticipated 3 to 4 million people are expected to overload whatever networks Verizon and Spring might have available in Washington, D.C.

The problem with the cell phone companies is not that they can’t supply the pipe. I’m pretty sure they can. Even more so, I am pretty sure they will not only supply the pipe, they will be also ones reaping all the rewards (even undeserved ones). And I don’t even have problem with that.

The problem I have with cell phone companies is that the pipe is “just good enough”. There’s not much of an extra capacity, and too quick roll-out of an iPhone showed just that for AT&T. I am quite sure Verizon isn’t going an extra mile just to beat the competition in the peak demand game. So their pipes are also “just good enough”.

What I would like to see in a year or two is the constant 3G sign on my phone. Anywhere. Even in tunnels or just 50 miles outside of NYC. I want to see 3G everywhere in Brooklyn too, even on the subway as I go there. I also want this 3G to be real solid connection, not some flickering on-the-verge-of-breaking-up connection. One way or another I’ve seen Verizon and AT&T guilty of all of the above. This is not to start a holy war “Verizon vs. AT&T”, it’s just that cell phone providers have formed de-facto cartel with crappy phones, nonsense pricing models (5GB limit for cell phone broadband with $250 cell phone modem card? Puh-leese!) and questionable service quality.

Those of you who are going to inauguration – slip a note into Obama’s pocket: we need reasonable cell broadband structure. Now!