Toronto web-buzz generates migration talk?

Stowe Boyd, a well-recognized visionary and “industry maven” in web-ville, was in Toronto recently and is coming back for mesh. With all the buzz Toronto’s getting right now, our reputation as a place for creative, leading-edge thinking and work is being enhanced. This is the kind of thing that proves out Richard Florida’s thesis.

I welcome Stowe’s half-serious emigration ponderings. I, for one, would be happy to help unload some boxes from the moving van. My preferred beer is Steam Whistle. While in Toronto for the mesh conference, we’d be happy to provide a tour of Liberty Village and the Distillery District. Maybe somebody can hook the man up with Lord of the Rings tickets.

Stowe, when it comes to relocating your new venture, “advisory capital” company “A Working Model”, Toronto’s DemoCamp community will welcome you with open arms. In fact, we’ve got some interesting ideas brewing for the next stage of community-building. I invite you to sign-up for BarCampToronto 2.0 the weekend prior to mesh and we’ll talk massively parallel innovation pipelines.

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Toronto Hydro MuniFi Disruption redux

If you’ve been living under a rock, you may not have heard about Toronto Hydro Telecom getting into the community wifi broadband business. I for one was surprised to find out that Toronto Hydro had a telecom subsidiary. It turns out, they’re not the only ones.

Here is a nice overview of community wifi projects around North America from the Globe & Mail. Hanna’s asking the right questions over at Wireless Toronto:

Also (curiously) absent from any coverage of this plan is mention of UTC Canada, “a trade association focused on addressing the critical telecommunications issues for utilities and energy companies in Canada and the providers of telecommunications infrastructure or information technology services.�

Remember, these are electrical utilities. A picture is presenting itself of a dormant fibre optic network that has the potential to access almost every telephone pole and/or lamp-post in Southern Ontario. Forgive me for getting myself excited over the prospect of clusters of municipal wifi mesh networks all over the place, but consultant-bloggers need to get out of the house more often.

Is it time to start thinking of broadband as a utility?

It is clear that it is in the public interest to have ubiquitous broadband, and wireless offers a low cost alternative for delivering that last mile. We are long overdue for a proper debate on the topic of the “digital divide”, and this development provides an opening. In disenfranchised communities both inside and outside the city people – kids – do not have access to the single most important technology that is the platform for the knowledge-based economy of the future. I would love to see a GIS map of the city showing the correlation between broadband penetration and average income. Any Regent Park bloggers out there? Arm kids with broadband, inexpensive laptops and provide them with access to video/audio gear and watch a flowering of creative and economic vitality in this city in the years that follow.

And don’t get me started on gun violence and its connection to social and economic exclusion.

Rogers, Telus & Bell may not like this idea, but where is the consensus in the public interest? Telecom is ripe for serious disruption, IMHO.
Thti Utel-8.5X11-2

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