"This is inevitable -- Wi-Fi. It is long overdue," [mayor] Newsom told a news conference at San Francisco's City Hall. "It is to me a fundamental right to have access universally to information," he said.
I love San Francisco. Only there, could free WiFi be considered a natural right.
Fuckn commies! Follow this muni-wifi movement through to it's natural conclusion.
First, its cities like SF that are really dense. They spend $16 million on gear, which is within their budget, but there is an ongoing cost associated with paying for wireline network access and maintenance. Of course, the actual telecom providers in the city can't compete with free, and so they start to go out of business, particularly as the FCC provides new spectrum for unlicenced wifi and people start making wifi voip phones. This causes the cost of the network access to go way up because its presently priced as a mass market commodity. This puts a squeeze on the budget. Things get bigger, more formal, more expensive, more institutionalized, more beaurocratic. Eventually small towns also get into the act as people expect this service to be available everywhere. People expect their wifi voip cellphone to work on the road, so eventually the state and federal authorities have to get involved with building the infrastructure. The end result is....... Postal Telecom and Telegraph, where the entire national telecom infrastructure is run by the government!
If you think MaBell was a barrier to innovation you haven't been to Europe! The reason people in Europe adopted cellphone technology so rapidly is because the PTTs suck suck suck and GSM was the first time most people could actually get a good quality phone!
To make matters much, much worse, the company that is first in line to take San Francisco tax payer dollars is Google, who will most definately install a big, fat, "Google Carnivore" to the network which will keep logs of your every move forever while simultaneously claiming its "secure." They already keep video and audio records of everything that occurs on muni busses in SF for *7 years.* Don't think for a minute that big brother won't be watching you if you accept his internet access!
Now, if municipalities can help secure rights of way for private companies to offer new kinds of cheap wireless internet access I am all for it, as long as there are competitive rights of way and I don't have to choose Google. However, the users of the network should pay for the service and not the fucking tax payers.
This is how we do things in America! The low marginal cost of wifi access is not a good excuse to convert over to a communist system. I would be much happier if the government handed out "internet stamps" to poor people so they could get online for free then if they build and run the whole system.
Don't forget that San Francisco is the city that came within a handful of votes 5 years ago of turning their entire electric power system into a socialist collective manned by a bunch of environmentalists who didn't know the first thing about engineering. (There was only one guy running for one district for the municipal power board who had any engineering experience at all.)
RE: Reuters | Newsom sees wireless service as basic right