WiFi bandwidth market ready to connect

Jun 6, 2013

This, or something like it, seems like an inevitable development as WiFi becomes more and more integral to smartphone and (especially) tablet usage.

There's plenty of WiFi out there - home WiFi, in-building business WiFi, amenity WiFi courtesy of fast food outlets, municipal WiFi, and hot-spot WiFi - but nobody has yet figured out a way to make it all work seamlessly together (if indeed, this is what the market wants) within some sort of commercial arrangement.

With Bandwidth Market, which is being launched properly next week in London, BandwidthX claims it's got the answer. Network operators can bid and offer on WiFi capacity in particular locations and at particular times. The system sets the transaction price at a point between bid and offer.

Apart from the central 'market' system all that's needed is an end-user device client (on smartphone, tablet or laptop) which validates the user and then, in times and locations where data capacity is at a premium, an operator can buy in capacity where it's needed and the user seamlessly uses it, claims BandwidthX.

The telecoms market and ambitious bandwidth trading schemes have an unhappy history - it was one of the tulip crazes that up-ended the telecoms market about 13 years ago with the demise of Enron. Yes, WiFi is different and this is a very different model and market from way back then, but at the same time it's always seemed to me that 'bandwidth' is not really a commodity.

Capacity is a commodity, bandwidth is an abstraction. We'll find out more next week when full details are announced.

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