Feb 04, 2013

Will the FCCs proposal for free public WiFi ever be implemented?

The FCC just proposed that free public WiFi networks be established in cities across the US. My initial reaction to reading that was, "Oh, yeah!" My follow-up reaction a few seconds later was, "Yeah, right."

As with most things, the devil's in the details, and it looks there are a lot of blanks to be filled in for the FCC's proposal to come to fruition. There will need to be spectrum acquisitions, and that's just one. On the upside, both Google and Microsoft have given their support to the proposal, so it is apparently being taken seriously.

Will this ever happen? Or is this just another flying car of the future?

Nothing in life is free, ever. Somebody will have to pay for this, somehow. So I'm not impressed with the idea. Nobody has a right to free WiFi. I'd like to know more about how this is going to be funded, is it going to be yet another tax on taxpayers? Ugh.

It will never happen, I'm afraid. The news reports were misleading. All the FCC was calling for was open spectrum to allow business or other entities to buy spectrum to build out super WiFi networks. Anyway, some states have already passed laws that make it basically impossible to have public WiFi networks in order to protect the carriers. Or as they prefer to call it, stop socialism. Speaking of the carriers, they have predictably come out in opposition to any plan for free public WiFi or even allowing the FCC to allocate white space broadband to limit monopolistic practices. After all, in the US we "enjoy" internet speeds that are among the slowest in the industrial world, while at the same time paying more than almost anyone else. The have every incentive to maintain the status quo. 

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