back to article Skype founder to offer FREE mobile broadband for all

Niklas Zennstrom's FreedomPop has signed a mind-boggling deal with LightSquared to provide free broadband to everyone in America. FreedomPop only exists as a landing page where one can register an interest in having free mobile broadband, and if it weren't for the involvement of one of Skype's founders it could easily be …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The GPS problem is fixed for a very specific definition of fixed.

    Yes, they tested new GPS systems what will work with the lightsquared lower band.

    That still requires every high precision GPS in the USA to undergo an expensive retrofit of the antenna and amplifier or in most cases be completely replaced. These are units that sell for tens of thousands of dollars, your looking at a minimum of hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars per unit.

    Who would pay that cost? FCC rules indicate Lightsquared should pay and Lightsquared claim the GPS companies should pay.

    There is then the issue of having to re-certify all the aviation receivers after they have been updated. That will take a lot of time and money.

    And after all of that Lightsquared still plan to use their upper band in a couple of years, there is no existing technical fix for that yet if one is even possible. So having replaced all the high end GPS systems we will be in exactly the same situation again in two-three years when they want to switch on the second band.

    Any money spent to replace hardware with systems that work with the lower lightsquared band but not the upper one is being thrown away unless there is a permanent band on the upper band being used, something GPS companies have asked for but lightsquared are resisting.

    Lightsquared are rushing to sign up partners, probably by offering them amazingly good terms, so that they can claim lots of businesses depend on them as part of their lobbying. They are trying to be too big to allow to fail before they even have a product to sell.

  2. Number6

    Market Forces

    By signing a 'free internet' deal that lasts for a fixed time, LightSquared will suddenly get a lot of people on its side against the nasty evil FCC and GPS people who object to the spectrum being re-allocated the way it was.

  3. The Envoy

    Free as in ... free?

    As a fellow Swede I would like to remind Niklas and potential users that there is no such thing as a free lunch ... or mobile broadband. You just might have to look a bit harder for the ads or equivalent. But believe me; it's there.

  4. loopy lou


    My minimally informed guess is that he's onto something. Think of the scientific literature which used to be pay-to-consume is now in a rapid transition to a free-to-consume (open access) pay-to-publish model driven by the vanishing cost of accessing stuff online.

    If you're and advertiser and you want to get people to see stuff, it seems a bit churlish to expect them to pay for the bandwidth, not to mention expensive: as the means of getting on-line multiply, the cost of collection money from every consumer for every access route will rapidly become the dominant cost in providing access. At that point, it makes sense to make consumption free, and charge people to get stuff onto the system in the first place. Of course, content producers will often charge the end user for some service or other, but that's between them. The money will flow from the user to the content provider and from them in big dollops to the pipe provider.

  5. Andy Livingstone

    "for all" ???

    Right, then, that'll just be some of the colonies?

  6. Kermonk

    In other news

    Several hot photo models are dying to date me and pigs fly past my window.

  7. Steven Roper

    Yeah, right

    "Free" as in "you don't have to pay any money but we get to eavesdrop on all your phone calls, monitor your browsing history, record your music and video preferences, copy down all your keystrokes and generally have complete control over the device you're using, including the ability to delete and modify files on it and secretly install whatever apps we feel like sticking on there."

    No thanks. I've had the 21st century's definition of "free" up to my fucking eyeballs. If it's at all possible in this invasive new world any more, I'd still rather pay money and know that my device is MINE, thank you very much.

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Nowt special about pigs flying ...

      ... they have done ever since they got helicopters!

      Ok - I'm going ...

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