Whatever Happened to Widespread Wi-Fi?

A few years back, a whole host of commercial and community schemes were underway which promised to blanket towns in free - or very cheap - wireless connectivity. But now, it's extremely rare to find wi-fi that is both easily accessible as well as affordable.

It's far more likely to use the internet while on the move by means of a 3G phone or a USB mobile broadband attachment. These options are by no means cheap, but they're easy. Given the soaring data traffic across mobile networks, it's safe to assume that the majority of people have made this same sacrifice of economy for the sake of accessibility.

Municipal wi-fi, which attracted a lot of interest and investment in the early part of the decade, has unfortunately proved to be something of a fad, with many projects abandoned while others are failing to deliver a return for their hopeful investors. So for now, wi-fi appears to have retreated from the busy city and headed back indoors, to cafes and public buildings. But in the abscence of this technology, the question becomes, which technology will be the next big connectivity triumph?

It could very well be Wimax, although this "wi-fi on steroids" technology has been doing better in the developing world than in places like the UK and US. It looks more likely that a new flavor of mobile network, whether it's called 4G or LTE (Long Term Evolution), will emerge in the place of municipal wi-fi. Regardless of the outcome, the majority of users won't bring themselves to care. They just want to get online anywhere at a reasonable enough price. Courtesy of bbc.co.uk

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