The Pony

I pay for high speed Internet at home. And I have a legacy data package from my cell phone provider that gives me all-I-can-eat data. And I have a “tablet” that works exclusively on wi-fi and not a cellular network. All of these things need airless Internet access to be really useful.

But my home provider is through my cable company, which has a local monopoly. There are competitors for that segment of the market, just as there are competitors for my mobile phone and data needs.

But why must I continually log in to new systems everywhere I go? For instance, I’m writing this on my tablet in the Burbank airport and I’ll finish it on the plane, which if I can post from there seems miraculous enough. I had to log in my tablet separately from my phone. One worked easily and the other remains uncertain. I may have to pay for access on the plane, or do without until I land in Sacramento.

Why must I see all of this network-hopping; why must I continually wonder whether where I go if I will have the ability to use these miraculous devices or if they will be dead weight in my briefcase?

I want there to be a cloud of access to the net just like there is a cloud of access to cellular phone access. I want to pay a single provider a single price for all the data access I want, on all my platforms, wherever I go. If the provider has to share expenses with other providers then I expect that cost to be built in to the monthly charge I pay to my provider or at most pass a roaming charge on to me on my bill. Then, I don’t want to think about it again.

If the cost I pay for such a package is half again what I pay for any single package now then I would be ahead of the game financially and I would superior service. And the profit margin for my provider could potentially increase.

As long as I’m wishing, I want hardware standards for data and phone devices to get worked out internationally too. Why should I have to pay extra for a device with three different kinds of digital transmitters, one per continental group?

The pony would be nice too, while we’re at it.

But seriously, if antitrust laws are what is getting in the way here then enforcement needs to be relaxed. If it’s the market then competitors needs to get smart and cooperate to their mutual advantage, and the advantage of their customers.

Burt Likko

Pseudonymous Portlander. Homebrewer. Atheist. Recovering litigator. Recovering Republican. Recovering Catholic. Recovering divorcé. Recovering Former Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. House Likko's Words: Scite Verum. Colite Iusticia. Vivere Con Gaudium.


  1. Burt,

    Sorry to make the first comment off topic, but just so you know, some of us are eagerly awaiting your next installment in the Greatest Hits series. I’ve been holding my breath for a long time, and my wife assures me that if I die from asphyxiation you’ll be held responsible, one way or another.

      • Can I have you sue them for the mental anguish they’re causing me? (Not that that will help you get to the next post any quicker, of course.)

  2. Burt,

    I totally agree, and I find it interesting the number of times city-wide wifi has failed. that being said, I like Amazon’s approach to this. If you have a kindle, you get 3G access free with your kindle, which works everywhere except a plane. Since the bandwidth providers can’t figure this out, the device manufacturers could. This doesn’t solve your device connectivity issue, but think of how nice it would be to pay google a subscription fee tied to your google account that worked on all your android devices, or the same with apple and ios.

  3. > Why should I have to pay extra for a device with three
    > different kinds of digital transmitters, one per
    > continental group?

    Because China doesn’t want to pay U.S. software/protocol/chip manufacturers’ patent fees. More fairly, neither does anybody else…

    • How does China factor into domestic segregation? Isn’t the better answer what Burt suggested in the OP: that profit motive and etc. keep things functioning in a state of decentralized confusion?

      • There’s actually more to it than that. Hm; maybe I can work up a post. Time to dust of the technology part of my brain.

          • In a nutshell, the wireless companies in this country have chosen different paths for their networks, based upon their idea of what was most likely to support their business plan. MetroPCS went one way, Sprint another, AT&T sat on their ass and waited for one of the 4G technologies in the field to demonstrate strength in deployment.

            They’re all then solving particular problems with their technologies in different ways. It matters, if your towers can’t handle hundreds of people switching towers at 3 handoffs per 60 seconds because the tower is in a train corridor. You know why you can’t use your cell phone on a plane? I’d bet a dollar it’s actually because the telcos don’t want you to; it’s a nightmare to handle the calls.

            This is the disadvantage of the wireless carrier market we have; it’s all bottom-up and very little of it interfaces with any of the rest of it. The advantage of not having AT&T do everything is that they compete on price… the disadvantage of not having AT&T do everything is that the technology is a mess, across the whole problem domain.

          • You know why you can’t use your cell phone on a plane? I’d bet a dollar it’s actually because the telcos don’t want you to; it’s a nightmare to handle the calls.

            It’s also a nightmare for anyone sitting next to you. Or flight attendants if they tell everyone only to text silently.

            (And aside from all that, they’re telling us now that cell phones have to be off for the entire flight now. “Airplane mode” being not-sufficient.)

  4. If you get Verizon with a mobile hot-spot, you should be able to rely on that for your connectivity needs. Your mobile ones, anyway. The use-limits are such that you wouldn’t want to use it for your at-home connection. It’s not a particularly cheap option, though. With their switching to Family Data Plans, though, you can also consider having all of your devices connected to the Verizon network (Well, you can’t with your Kindle Fire, but you could if you got a Galaxy Tab).

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