Since 2001 I've had WiFi in my home office and been a heavy user of public and private hotspot operator's networks the world over. That's why I was always surprised to see the cable MSO's so invisible when it comes to WiFi in public places.
With cable strands running beneath the ground, and access already available to high speed networks, it would have been very easy for the cable MSO's to quickly make their communities wireless, without the need for any third parties to build out the network if the right antennae were used.
This idea clearly is what is driving FON and their agreement with Time Warner Cable is most appealing (full disclosure-beyond the fact that I recently signed up for FON for personal use).
This changes the public's access paradigm in a big way. It means that anyone who joins FON can go from one FON equipped hotspot or property to another, and instantly have credentials so they can log on and "stay connected." It also makes a lot of the costs to build out a Muni-Wireless network redundant.
In my view the cable MSO's should then build out in high traffic locations and public places additional hot spots, charge a modest monthly fee for user access to the entire hybrid network and then roam between cable operator based WiFi hotspots.
This would be a boom to the growth of WiFi and is where companies with so much to gain like Intel and Cisco should be working to help make happen, in consort with the MSO's and FON. The access network is already there from the cable MSO's. The access points available from Cisco/Linksys. FON has the sharing network that makes things intercarrier/interoperable. Intel would then also be able to work with WiMax partners Nokia and Motorola to add additional wireless back haul technology, that would assure even greater throughput, less bottlenecks, and squarely pit the cable MSO's against the telcos.
Other than agreeing to do these deals, to make it all work, what's missing?
Update--FYI-FON via investment are very much related too to Google and Skype. Can you say "Rooster in The Hen House?"