High-speed in Old Towns

Picture yourself in a medieval city in the Baltics, surrounded by ancient city walls and gates, church spires and onion domes dotting the skyline and cobble stone streets and alleys everywhere. A lovely place to imagine what life was like 800 years ago and the perfect setting in which to film a period piece. Yet in the window of nearly every cafe, shop or restaurant you see a sign suggesting free WiFi. And sure enough, you get a very clear signal and great band width.

Welcome to Tallinn, the most “wired” city in the world, in the most wired country in the world. Estonians brought us Skype! (thank you for that by the way)

Drive a few hours out of Tallinn and it’s no different. WiFi signals all over the place. How can this be?

It has to do with the lack of telephone infrastructure in place when the Russians left in ’91 and Estonia regained her independence. Why rebuild with old technology on top of old infrastructure? Now they have a great cellular phone network and fantastic Internet capacity. Everywhere.

I remember running into a Canadian engineer in Romania in 1993 and he was there to help set up cell towers for the new network being installed around the country. I guess a lot of places in Europe were doing the same thing at the time and it explains why so many Europeans have cell phones.

But it doesn’t explain why they can’t seem to build a decent shower that’s more than 4 feet high, with scalp massaging water pressure.

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