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Ubiquitous connectivity?

April 15th, 2013 by Graham Attwell

I’ve spent a couple of days last week in Dublin at a conference on Big Data. Or rather, I spent a couple of days in Dublin trying to get access to data over the internet.

At the conference, held at the quite upmarket conference centre at headquarters of the Gaelic Athletic Association, Croke Park, it was the usual story. You can imagine the conversation.

Conference organiser: Will you be able to provide us with wireless internet for all our participants?

Conference Centre staff: How many people do you expect at your conference?

Conference organiser: About 200

Conference centre staff: Yes that is no problem

Conference organiser: Are you sure?

Conference centre staff:  Yes, we have had many conferences with more people than that and have had no problems


Except that of those other conferences perhaps 30 per cent were on line. And at tech conferences we usually have 98 per cent on line and most with two or even three devices.

So time after time, the wireless fails at ed-tech events. I don’t know what can be done about it, other than get internet access written into contracts with penalty clauses if it is not delivered.

In face free wireless access is pretty good in Dublin. However the quality of that access is pretty bad. Limited bandwidth and intermittent connectivity. I suspect this is the future, as more and more people require free wireless and enterprises feel forced to provide this to remain competitive. In London pretty much every pub and café offers free access. But as more and more devices go online the infrastructure will start to squeak and bandwidth may actually decline. I hope I’m wrong. I still think connectivity should be seen as basic infrastructure and can’t really imagine that it is efficient to have so many companies fighting for business in the main urban centres whilst in Wales some areas cannot even receive a G3 signal let alone wireless internet.

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