For realistic ubiquity and pervasiveness of the Internet and the associated technologies and use cases the world must be wired more like a utility than like an accessory. We don’t need actual wires everywhere, but the effects of those connections must be pervasive. The backbone of the Internet must be large enough to handle the increased demands of the low power, thin clients, using massive data pipes to offload processing to the cloud. The last mile problem can be solved by requiring data services be a requirement of telephone or cable companies as much as we required water and electricity to be serviced to under represented communities.
I’m not worried about those issues as the market and government will fill in those gaps as governance and commerce transition to real or just in time delivery for all but imminent perishable goods. I’m worried about the last 20 feet problem.
High bandwidth in small spaces requires much higher frequencies than the current technologies. To get that into the market place will take anywhere from five to fifteen years. The current non-ubiquitous but standardized frequencies have been in place slightly longer than that. The use of the industrial, scientific, medical (ISM) bands around the 2.4ghz spectrum are a regulated spectrum. Similarly the ISM bands at 5ghz are restricted. Instead of worrying about large scale penetration for the purposes of locative technologies and the last 20 feet problem we need to think lower power and less penetration of those frequencies.
Of course, then you start running into other problems like the perceived risks of cancer and effecting negatively other technologies. Currently in my little townhouse in the middle of metro DC there are dozens if not hundreds of access points blanketing the area with signals. The conflicts in the area between access points offered for free from Verizon and Comcast has created a denial of service environment. It’s time to start thinking about de-conflicting the wireless spectrum as the ubiquity of the technology expands. Even higher frequencies will not penetrate walls, will provide higher local bandwidth, and will support the demands of a rapid move towards cloud computing.