No Contest

5:55 PM -- In the news roundup today:

  • Business 2.0's Om Malik cites an RBC Capital Markets survey of the fiber-to-the-home market, saying there are likely about 6 million fiber-connected homes worldwide, up 140 percent from last year.

  • RCR News reviews a new J.D. Powers report that says wireless call-quality problems declined for the second straight year, reaching their lowest level since the survey firm began studying the issue in 2003.

  • The city of Sacramento will cut the ribbon on its new wireless mesh network April 4 -- after a buildout by MobilePro Corp. that will take a matter of weeks. (See Sacramento to Set Up Muni WiFi.)

  • The sprawling mesh network in Tempe, Arizona, considered the nation's largest, is expanding to neighboring community Gilbert and will eventually cover some 187 square miles. (See Largest WiFi Net Continues to Expand.)

Add 'em up, and if I'm in the business of laying fiber I'm looking for an exit strategy like, yesterday. A quick comparison: The rollout of fiber to 6 million homes has taken, oh, let's say a decade. The "WiFly" wireless mesh network in Taipei, which in theory serves some 2.65 million people, was begun in 2004 and is essentially complete. Mobile voice quality is improving just as VOIP is becoming a mainstream telecom choice. What's more, wireless mesh networks are increasingly being viewed as a low-cost, reliable, and ubiquitous solution for enterprises. (See Mesh to the Bedside.)

You do the math.

-- Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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