Tuesday, December 16, 2008

National Public Internet

Here's my submission to Google's Project 10 to the 100th. The idea is presented by answering a series of questions (bolded below) from Google.

National Public Internet

What one sentence best describes your idea? (maximum 150 characters)

Internet connectivity as free, as ubiquitous and easy as FM radio.

Describe your idea in more depth. (maximum 300 words)

Internet for Everyone from National Public Internet (NPI).

The future of the Internet is that basic wireless connectivity will be as free (of cost), ubiquitous and easily available as FM radio. This will co-exist with a paid tier of premium Internet service that offers ultra high speed connectivity. But the basic service will be free. Just as FM radio is free and easily available, where as premium video channels on cable cost some money.

The project aims to:
  1. Create a non-profit nationwide Internet service provider organization (called NPI), analogous to the non-profit public radio company NPR. It is very important to conceive and run this as a non-profit organization.
  2. A nationwide network infrastructure on which to provide the basic free wireless Internet service to everybody.
Why non-profit?

The focus and energies of NPI should be on smoothly running an extremely important and vital nationwide network infrastructure to provide free wireless Internet. The focus should never be distracted or biased by profit-making considerations or for creating shareholder wealth. The organization should be strictly independent of any profit-making corporation. It should also be independent of incumbent profit-making internet service provider companies, including cable and telecoms.

The organizational structure for NPI would be inspired by and based on the NPR model of city-level stations working together to provide nationwide coverage of high quality programming.

Network Infrastructure

NPI should be the preferred model for providing internet service on the White Space spectrum. It should directly connect to the Internet Backbone. It won't be dependent on incumbent telecoms. At the city-level, the main vehicle for the Internet signals could be the ‘white space’ spectrum. At the local block-level, there could be repeater routers deployed, as required.

What problem or issue does your idea address? (maximum 150 words)
  1. Inadequate Internet connectivity in general. Extremely poor wireless Internet connectivity in particular.
  2. Internet connectivity not managed and provided as a nationwide public resource like roads and highways, accessible and useful to everybody for free.

If your idea were to become a reality, who would benefit the most and how? (maximum 150 words)
  1. EVERYBODY in the country would benefit from significantly increased connectivity for learning, information access and communication.
  2. Emergency responders and service providers.
  3. Model could be replicated in other countries with poor Internet connectivity.

What are the initial steps required to get this idea off the ground? (maximum 150 words)
  1. Build a campus-wide or city-wide network as a proof of concept for the specific design and technology to be used by NPI.
  2. Design the organizational structure and start building out.

Describe the optimal outcome should your idea be selected and successfully implemented. How would you measure it? (maximum 150 words)

If basic wireless Internet connectivity is available for free and easily to everybody and in every place where FM radio signals are available, this project is a success.