A report on wireless LANs which also has some stats [via Kevin Werbach], has a quote which echoes what I think: “I think that [802.11’s] potential as a last mile solution has generally being overlooked..WLAN technologies will become very widespread in the distribution of broadband access from DSL/cable nodes to local communities. It is relatively cheap to purchase/install, has global standards in place, widely available equipment, no licenses to purchase, and a nice fat bandwidth to offer.” The quote is by Tony Crabtree of Juniper Research.
Another related story — MIT scholars predict shift in telecom model:
Keeping the Internet an open entity will depend largely on users’ abilities to set up ad hoc networks among themselves, instead of large telecommunications companies controlling the infrastructure and therefore the bits that travel across it, according to some members of the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Laboratory.
With the emergence of new wireless LAN technologies, such as the IEEE 802.11 specification that lets users with the right equipment pass data back and forth across a short distance without requiring physical connections, device manufacturers that include such technology in their products are enabling users to create networks on their own.