Om Malik is moderating a panel on "Cutting the Cords - The Wireless Explosion." Pierre DeVries from USC's Annenberg Center has focused on what to me is one of the two biggest national policy-related issues: The spectrum that will open up once the broadcast TV networks move to digital transmission is the equivalent of opening up a new continent for settlement. If that spectrum is shifted to unlicensed usage, it will substantially kickstart wireless innovation. If instead the FCC sees it as a new asset to sell to the highest bidder, we'll continue to stuff public wireless into an overcrowded little island.
Juergen Urbanski from FON made the point that he's focused from the home out, while muni wireless efforts are typically from public spaces in. That's a good distinction, though many municipalities (such as St. Cloud, FL) are offering citizens the opportunity to buy Customer Presence Equipment (CPE) that melds the local and municipal networks. Assuming that the identity layer is consistent - that the FON and muni network don't have conflicting models of user access - then they would indeed be
Jeff Belk from Qualcomm is preaching the value of the incumbents' network investments, but it's a difficult argument. Belk continually refers to EVDO and other offerings as "3G," but they don't really justify the label. I can get a consistent 100k on EVDO, but that's just fast dialup, literally (Verizon Wireless' VZAccess Manager calls it "dialing" when you connect). Belk and Ruckus Wireless' Selina Lo are arguing about carrier-based versus, say, a Skype wifi phone. Both are right, but Belk will be less right in a year or two.
Kaliya just got up to complain about roaming charges, and now Belk is deflecting the question by saying it's not his department. Good point, but since he's been touting the virtues of the incumbent networks, he should also take the hit when their business model is attacked.