Om Malik has gotten over his jet lag, the post mom food blues and his eTel Launchpad and is back in the groove of a home run hitter.
Tonight he busts a move and tells us that BT is about to invest in FON, the people's WiFi network which if all things go right will be the disruptor in WiFi that Skype was to VoIP.
The timing of this could not having been better as I just completed participation at the MuniWireless conference in Dallas tonight where I moderated a panel that featured Uber Bloggers Jonathan Greene and GuideWire Group's Oliver Starr, the dude who put Mobile into MobileCrunch, as well as Paul Murdock of Nokia's Multimedia Device Group and Kent Brown of Motorola's Canopy division, a last minute replacement for pal Craig Newmann.
What we're about to see is what I call "Disruptive Wireless" and it's either going to happen with carrier cooperation or without. Client Covad, Sprint, Clearwire, TowerStream and others are going to go into the business of providing WiMax in the USA. Real WiMax, not the pre-WiMax stuff we see today. Speeds will be very fast and signals will go very far. As much as a few miles. Once up and running people will hook up WiFi routers to the WiMax networks and have real Internet access speeds, not a choked DSL or Cable Modem experience. Network attachments like FON, which creates a "friend to friend" roaming service will take hold on the "enthusiast" level, while companies like Boingo and Wayport find ways to amalgamate and integrate the commercial networks and locations.
All this will happen around the backs of the incumbents, or with their cooperation. Call it CO-OPT-ITION at its finest. They won't be able to stop it, so they are better enabling it in my mind.
This is the best example of "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" I have seen, but the only problem is many of the Bell heads in telco today won't see it and for many consumers and entrepreneurs the pain of having to "play ball" with the Telcos will be painful in the near term but if everyone plays nice in the sand box a better Internet experience for all will be the result.