Clay sez: WiFi will Napsterize telcos

Business Week takes notice of Warchalking and Clay lays a hurt on the telcos:

Part of what makes Wi-Fi so sexy is that it's decidedly low-tech. But that's also its power — and the reason many telecom carriers make it illegal to share your broadband signal. Just as Napster changed the monopolistic music industry by making it easier and essentially free to obtain music, Wi-Fi could rip apart the burgeoning broadband industry, a duopoly of established cable and telecom companies, by replacing last-mile connectivity with last-acre connectivity.

"The telecom industries are addicted to the one-wire, one-customer philosophy, which means that growth in use directly equates with growth in direct user fees," warns Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University and an expert in network economics. "If it suddenly becomes easy to share broadband with anyone within a [1,000 foot] range, then, as with Napster, you have quickly and easily lowered coordination costs. And it's only coordination costs that make it possible for the big guys to make money off each and every user."



(via Scripting News)