I Hate Wireless

Wireless Challenge #163: Ice Storm! (Mount Saint Helena, Feb 2009)

“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” –  Arthur C. Clarke

Wireless is magic. You point two antennas at each other over a span of miles, and broadband comes out the other end. Most of the time.

I hate wireless.

Today, we sold our wireless network.

It’s an issue of focus. We are focused on wireline services, and dealing with the success and growth of both Fusion and FlexLink. We are also working on our Fusion Fiber projects. Wireline (including fiber) is our future. And, wireless is difficult. So, we sold our hard-won wireless infrastructure, selecting CDS Wireless of Santa Rosa to take over our network.

CDS is focused on wireless. They love it! (And, as far as I can tell, they don’t much like the wireline services such as DSL, which they do sell — but we provide the DSL aggregation and operate that network for them.) Their focus on wireless, and as a result, I expect that CDS will be a better steward of the wireless network, services and customers.

Sonic.net is providing the Internet backbone connection for CDS, so it’s a good partnership for us. We do the part we are good at, and they focus on the their specialty. And, if a customer cannot be reached by our wireline products and they are located in CDS’s coverage area, we will refer them.

As we shift away from wireless, we are also retiring all of our free public WiFi projects. These provided WiFi access in a number of city centers. With the rise of smartphones and 3g, plus the growing challenges of maintaining aging WiFi equipment, this is also something we cannot focus on anymore. (For now at least, we will continue our partnership with Airport Express to deliver WiFi onboard their buses.)

I am very excited about the focus on where we are headed. And, I know that our former wireless customers will be well taken care of too.

  • Roger Weeks

    I understand why 

  • Roger Weeks

    Err. I understand why you’re doing this. Wireless is hard. But I’m not sure I agree that wireline is the future. There’s too many places to get fiber to for that to work everywhere.

    I am bummed you won’t have the public Wi-Fi anymore. I did enjoy sitting in the square downtown and using it.

  • Pingback: » Sonic.Net Backs Away From Wireless – Wants to Maintain Focus on Wireline »()

  • Benjasik

    focus is good!  Hoping for fiber in san francisco

  • It is very rare these days to find blogs that provide information someone is looking for. I am glad to see that your blog share valued information that can help to many readers..

  • One of the great things about Sonic is that in some of those areas you refer, businesses could jump on Sonic and get fast Fusion (soon fiber) for less than Comcast Business Class, or AT&T and Verizon. Possibly those companies can open up a guest WiFi network for customers to use. There is always that route. I have an open guest network for people to use.

  • Susie

    Way to go, I will become a new customer of Sonic soon.  Can’t wait to have faster DSL.  My DSL now is 1.5Mbps from AT&T and from Sonic will be 20 Mbps.  I’m sure the faster aspect will not be worth much to me, it’s fast enough now.  But it’s the “customer NO service” from AT&T that got me.  I have been with them for 25 years with no perks, or information on lowering my bill; not even a senior rate!!  Outrageous…. I guess you have to get of your duff and find a better deal with is Sonic.

  • This is smart.  Wired is the future as the problems with wireless are starting to be noticed by the public as well as government. 

    Those that get smart with wired or some alternative to microwave data transmission will be the winners.

  • dsnoble

    Finally, a company that is going the way of the future — the way things are being done in the rest of the world. fiber optics provides faster service that carries more data, isn’t easily hacked and doesn’t irradiate those who use it. Wel done!

  • Nkbickel

    Do you also provide troubleshooting or repair service for a subscriber that is having trouble getting their inhouse 2-computer network to work in new office? Cost?

  • sonicnet

    No, we don’t.


  • A good example of specialization.  Horizontal scaling is the way to go.  Let others take the pieces and integrate vertically complete solutions.  Nothing wrong with that model.  Wireless, wireline, complementary in a vertical and horizontal way; not necessarily an infrastructure of business model way.

  • Well good for the company but once again, another reduction in service for those who have no real access to the internet through sonic except the public wireless hubs.  Because we have dailup only out here about 300 yards off of Bodega, there are many times I’ve had to drive to town, find a sonic public hub and download or upload files for work. 
    Sad to see it go.  Guess we will check out CDS and see if they will offer anything to replace it.  Do you realize how wonderful 1.2gps is compared to 32 kps dailup?   I think, if there’s no plan to bring better service to underserved areas and people have only access to sonic.net through wireless there needs to be a new month plan that reduces the fee for us that have to purchase access through wifi but still want to keep sonic.net email at least.  How about that?

  • sonicnet

    Rural broadband access is a substantial challenge. The federal government recently recognized this and launched a program to award $7.2B in rural broadband subsidies to fund deployment under the NTIA/BTOP program.

    Sonic.net has chosen to focus on wired access products, as described in this article. There remain providers who do focus on wireless access and more rural areas, including locally CDS Wireless.

    -Dane Jasper

  • leftyloosey

    Hey! why not?

  • leftyloosey

    Over the phone, even?

  • sonicnet

    No, local area network support would be something for an IT management firm. Sonic’s role is broadband connectivity, not your own local network, your PCs or servers, etc.