Local ISP offers Wireless Service
Last July when I first got my wireless card, I left the laptop on while driving home from work, a noticed a bunch of "oregontrail.net" SSIDs that showed up. Why they showed up, I had no idea, and OregonTrail's mediocre site wasn't any help.
Happened to be watching TV the other day, and saw an ad for their wireless service. For $20/month, you can roam on their downtown and Awbrey Butte hotspots at a blistering 128Kbs. Will this catch on around here? I really doubt it. If I had a wireless-accessible PDA or something, I might consider it, but if I going to haul my laptop down to Drake Park, I'm going to go a couple more blocks (to my parent's house) and plug in where I can get something a bit faster than 128Kbs. I personally don't want to hang out downtown with my laptop for fear of getting laughed at, mugged, or crapped on by those damn geese at the park.
They're also selling residential service, which seems even more ridiculous to me. Their fastest connections for residential (two-way 512Kbs) run $50/month. Plus $25 setup fee. Plus, you need to have line-of-sight to Awbrey Butte (and possibly pay a local company $185 to get you all the equipment you need). For the rich(er) folks in town, that's not a problem, but quite a bit of town can't hit that. Put an antenna on Pilot Butte, and then you'll have better luck (granted, Pilot Butte's a state park, but we'll just ignore that variable).
But really folks, spend you money elsewhere and get better connection speed. If you're a basic cable TV subscriber, you can get high-speed Internet for $35.95, and the speeds are much faster (and the local cable company is always running "Free Install" promotions). Then, spend right around $75 (at the most) and get yourself a good wireless access point and Wi-Fi card. It's a one-time cost, and you then not only have good wired access, but good Wi-Fi access.
Here's what I'd like to see OregonTrial do: Get this to work in rural areas outside of Bend where high-speed options are scarce. My boss, for example, has DirecPC two-way satellite at their house out East of town. It's always acting up on them. Put up a couple towers out there where you can see for a hundred miles, and line-of-site won't be a problem, and then you're in business.
Just my two cents. Granted, I still don't have an access point at my house here, but I'll be getting one one of these days. Hell, somebody want to give me one? Hell, somebody anonymously bought Matt at Metafilter a $1000 camera, so anybody want to send me some Wi-Fi loving? ;-)