Thursday, June 23, 2005

City WiFi has an article about the fight between Verizon and the city of Philadelphia. Like most cities anymore they want to build a city wide wireless network so that they can take advantage of technologies like VOIP and have internet access to all their city vehicles and workers. The thing is since they have the network why not let their citizens take advantage of it too. Especially the poorer ones that the cost of high speed internet is way out of their price range. This is where Verizon has issue with this. They have a new wireless network technology that they really want to sell themselves. So here is the dilemma who is in the right? Sure Philadelphia has full right to provide city employees (maintains crews, police, fire) with wireless access but should they go beyond that? If you look at the situation the city would like to provide its poorer citizen with high speed internet access. Can they do that and stick to only low income households or do they have to include their richer citizens. So where does this leave companies like Verizon. Some could make a case that it gives the city an unfair monolopy on the internet access in a city. A compromise could be made to only allow access to the poor (you must be this poor to get cheap internet), but that leaves the question what do you consider poor. There are families who by most would be considered middle class who can't afford high speed internet. If I could get high speed wireless that would free up a fair amount of cash I could save some money for other important things. What about the businesses in the city? Shouldn't they should be allowed to take advantage. If I owned a restaurant in that area I would advocate it. I'm sure there will be those who take advantage of it. Seriously I'm sure there are going to be a few companies sticking out WiFi antennas out to get free internet access. Several cities including the one I live in are considering going this route. Down deep I have to say that I am all for it. Could this hurt innovation among the wireless providers? Probably not, they will have their pity parties then try to innovate. Looking at what available for like wireless access from Verizon ($75) it would be hard to compare against something say for $10 or $15 a month. To a lot of families that would be a strain. Maybe this could create a market for something like that new Nokia device. Oh well time will tell. If Verizon and the like were offering a reasonably priced service then I probably would be in their camp but I until they do I'm on municipality side of this issue. Maybe this will spur them into doing this. That would be nice but not likely.


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