Why Pay the iPad ‘3G Tax?’ Get a Pocketspot and Use Wi-Fi

January 27, 2010

Om said it best in less than 140 characters: “If i had to buy an iPad, I would buy a WiFi one with a Sprint MiFi. Who needs to blow money on a crappy AT&T 3G connection.”

His late Wednesday tweet summed up perfectly my reaction to the Apple iPad’s pricing for a model with connectivity to AT&T’s 3G cellular service: Why would you pay an extra $130 “3G tax” for the privilege of connecting one device to a network whose underpinnings are still suspect? Especially when you can get a mobile Wi-Fi router, either in the slim 3G-only version or in the beefier, brawnier hybrid 3G/4G configuration — and have better connectivity for your iPad and four other devices?

From AT&T’s standpoint, the pricing structure makes sense — by making it a high leap over the base iPad price, you can guess many folks will opt not to spring for a 3G version, especially since (unlike an iPhone) this device is primarily designed for content consumption or creation, and not necessarily for communications. (Though we fully expect Andy A to be the first to use it in an airborne Wi-Fi/VoIP configuration)

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FCC Chair Genachowski Speaks — To Om

August 3, 2009

If you needed any more evidence that this isn’t your grandfather’s FCC, look no farther than this great one-on-one interview between my old boss Om Malik and new FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

Though Genachowski dances a bit around Om’s pointed questions that is understandable, since he hasn’t been chairman long enough to get much of anything done. But the simple fact that this chairman is reaching out to individual, influential voices in the blogosphere means that the door is now open to let telecom policy makers and regulators hear what’s being said and what’s being thought outside the insular walls of Washington D.C.

The money quote from Genachowski: “we [the FCC under Genachowski] want to be fact-based and data-driven.” Knowing as we do that our good friend Blair Levin is leading the FCC’s development of a new overall national broadband plan (which, we have been told, will probably be more far-reaching and influential than the historic 1996 Telecom Act), it’s pretty easy to guess that whatever happens going forward is going to have to pass the tests of openness and public scrutiny — a far better way to make sausage, as our pal Harold Feld might say, than previous regimes. And that is change we can believe in, from a telecom policy point of view.

Google: WSJ is ‘Confused’ on Net Neutrality Story

December 15, 2008

It’s been a pretty interesting night on the net neutrality front, one that hit at least Defcon Two when I saw a Tweet from Om saying “Google turns its back on network neutrality.” To me that was a huge WTF, and reading the Wall Street Journal article about how “Google Wants Its Own Fast Track on the Web” just confused me more since the article seemed to be at serious odds with what I have reported Google’s net neutrality positions to be.

A few hours later? Despite the predictable read-and-react storm at the top of TechMeme, as it turns out all is well for net neutrality proponents, and maybe not so much so for the Journal’s crew of reporters on this piece. Google’s Rick Whitt not only called the Journal article “confused” in a blog post of his own, but explained that the so-called “proposal” is a pretty standard ISP practice of edge caching.

(Richard Bennett, no fan of net neutrality, nevertheless can explain what Google is talking about and the general ideas in greater detail.)

As befits his late Sunday-night blogging style, Om quickly reversed course and made a correction noting Whitt’s post. Below is the money quote from the Google blog post that is part of the reason why we think Whitt is the new leading influencer in the net neutrality debate as it heads into 2009:

Despite the hyperbolic tone and confused claims in Monday’s Journal story, I want to be perfectly clear about one thing: Google remains strongly committed to the principle of net neutrality, and we will continue to work with policymakers in the years ahead to keep the Internet free and open.

In a P.S. to his post, Whitt went on to say that he didn’t recall a quote the WSJ says he made about President-elect Barack Obama changing his net neutrality policies; for fans of social media, it will be interesting to see how many of the top TechMemers change their posts tonight to reflect Google’s agile blogging. So far, no response to Whitt’s blog post on the WSJ site, where the comments are only open to subscribers.

Looks like the WSJ story was also incorrect about Larry Lessig’s supposed softening of his stance on net neutrality, as Lessig explains himself. How many ways did this story go wrong?