Free wireless broadband access coming to the US?

By Matthew ยท 61 replies
Mar 10, 2010
  1. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714   +855

    I like the idea. Internet availability has literally become part of the national infrastructure. It's a must have for emergency services these days.

    Now the implementation of this? Well, we'll see. Our government manages to screw up plenty, so let's see what they do with this idea.
  2. DryIce

    DryIce TS Rookie Posts: 60

    I still don't understand why they would do this.
  3. jjbeard926

    jjbeard926 TS Rookie Posts: 69

    I'll file this in the believe-it-when-I-see-it bin. I recall Google investing "billions" of dollars (in quotes because I doubt they got even close to a billion spent) in getting the city of San Francisco "free" wifi (in quotes since nothing is ever really free). A few years and several million dollars later they gave up on the project saying "It just isn't feasible at this time". So yes, the FCC wants to set aside some wifi band space for "free" internet. That's nice. Very spiffy.

    Now who sets up the hardware, who pays for said hardware, who maintains it? The space is not the product. And so far no one is stepping up to provide that product no matter how much space is set aside for it.

    This would be like the FAA saying they'll allow flying cars and will be all set to begin registering them. It doesn't mean GM will start pumping them out in mass quantities. Rather the market for them will need to develop and while some will come out, they'll be extreme luxury items for years before the cost comes down enough that John Q Public can afford one. Wealthy cities may set aside some tax dollars to put up "free" wifi in downtown, and some states may even work out deals to provide wifi to the majority of the population, but it won't be wide spread for a long time and even when it is it won't be what we hoped for.

    I'm not holding my breath. Oh and the cable companies and ISPs out there aren't exactly shaking in their boots either.
  4. rajmond

    rajmond TS Rookie Posts: 45

    I wish this could happen in other places too!
  5. matrix86

    matrix86 TS Guru Posts: 843   +38

    See, this is how the government works. Offer a "free" service and OH! What's this? Why are my taxes all of a sudden higher?

    Like someone else said, imagine all the traffic that'll be on it slowing it down.

    Let's also not forget all the jobs that will be lost from the internet companies when people switch to the "free" internet. My solution to this problem would be to cut the "free" internet off at the 1.5Mb limit. I mean, yeah, 1.5 is still slow, but a hell of a lot better than dial-up. And cutting it off at 1.5Mb still keeps all the other companies in business since people will still want faster internet. And those who can afford it will get it, those who can't will sit at home on their 1.5Mb connection and think "OH MY GOD THIS IS SO FREAKIN FAST!" I know this from experience, lol. To someone who has only known 56k, 1.5Mb is very fast. Those who have higher think a 1.5 cap is ridiculous...of course you'll think that. But it really isn't all that bad for the average user. The biggest issue I see with the 1.5 cap is that all the traffic on it will slow it down....but it'll still beat having 56k. People are just getting too spoiled..."OMG! This iPad doesn't have a webcam!!" *in a dull monotone voice* oh's the end of the for your lives....i'm forgetting something...oh yeah...aaaaaahhhhhh :zzz:

    And now the major concern...this "free" internet would be run by the government...yeah, think about that, lol. Don't get me wrong, I love my country and would die for it (the army won't let me in because of my health condition) but I trust my government about as much as I trust a lion not to bite me if I stuck my head in its mouth and stabbed its foot with a knife.
  6. ourboyblue

    ourboyblue TS Rookie Posts: 19

    Nothing is "free", somebody always pays. This is some politicians ( most likly a democrat) pet project to get his or her name in the press. Check back in a year and if anything at all a very small area affected, probable there own district.
  7. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    Like others have said, nothing is free. Your taxes will be paying the internet bill for people who can't afford it or people who don't want to pay for it, like some screwed up for of wellfair.....

    IMO internet is still a luxury, if you can't afford it - you don't need it. (it just happens to be a luxury I'm not sure I could live w/o :p)
  8. ToastOz

    ToastOz TS Rookie Posts: 59

    With the high unemployment rate in America at the moment I can't imagine free internet is what they need most.
  9. Geek4life

    Geek4life TS Rookie Posts: 28

    Im all for it. This is the way of the future. The internet is a right just like the library is open to all, so should the internet.
  10. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 647   +58

    "what are we going to do tommorrow night Mr. Genachowski?"
    "same thing we do every night, citizen. Try to take over the world!"
  11. elroacho72

    elroacho72 TS Rookie Posts: 116

    Nothing from the government is free. What will we have to give up to get free INTERNET? We should try to keep somethings out of the governments hands. Government provides this service s they can control it !
  12. SweetIT

    SweetIT TS Rookie

    While this sounds wonderful it's a long way from reality. There are grants being made available to expand connectivity into rural areas and movements in place to provide digital literacy. That is more feasible at this point for the US. We all probably know someone who is unemployed or struggling to make ends meet and it's sad that our once wealthy, strong, and prosperous country is suffering. I am trying to do my part to make the world a better place for my children. It can't be done by one but every contribution to the cause makes a difference. The internal bickering has to stop to make any nationwide project a success. It can be done but it's unlikely that it will be done any time soon.
  13. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,286   +902

    My main concern are the restrictions this "free" broadband will have, also its speed because of how many notebooks per person there are.
  14. Recipe7

    Recipe7 TS Booster Posts: 143

    Is it me, or does anything free just suck most of the time? I bet this free wi-fi will be 128kbps.
  15. Vrmithrax

    Vrmithrax TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,352   +293

    The real reason is logistics. Look at the countries listed above the US on the "best internet broadband access" lists. Then group them all together, and place them on a map of the US, and you'd still have room for them to wiggle around comfortably. The fact is, the US is HUGE compared to most of the best countries for broadband, and the reason is that establishing the elaborate infrastructure to provide fast service is much easier in tiny geographical locations. The US has a massive area with very large expanses of nothing between tightly grouped metropolitan areas. Blanketing such large and varied terrain with the required fiber optics and copper wire to reach every man, woman and child is a huge and very expensive proposition. That very fact is one of the main reasons that the telecoms and cable companies have such a stranglehold on broadband here in the States - they're the ones who have invested all the resources and money into establishing infrastructure.

    Use some of the freed analog TV spectrum to blanket the US with wireless internet, and suddenly that infrastructure issue becomes a sidenote (just needed to connect towers and junctions). Looks great on paper, in reality it ***** slaps the big companies who have laid down massive resources into that infrastructure. All that work, for naught? Can't see how that will turn out well, at all.
  16. zyodei

    zyodei TS Rookie Posts: 30

    Huzzah, free porn for everyone.

    Seriously, most people use broadband primarily for entertainment.

    So this is a government subsidy of entertainment. Or rather, a government program to encourage everyone to sit at home watching Hulu.

    I have mixed feelings...
  17. Boredom

    Boredom TS Rookie

    yar, free internet it'll save people so much money per year. But i hope they have restriction on bandwidth and usage time, kind of hard to maintain if everyone's jacking up bandwidth.
  18. tripplejjj

    tripplejjj TS Rookie Posts: 28

    Are you kidding me! When the government use the word "free", it usually means taxpayers are getting the bills. All the government is doing is taking your hard earned money and giving you back a penny on every dollar.
  19. pipopaz

    pipopaz TS Rookie Posts: 70

    Free internet? Can't wait to see what the ISP providers will have to say about it...
  20. jacob007

    jacob007 TS Rookie Posts: 25

    I`ve heard of this kind of plans for cities all over the world for many years now, let`s hope this one comes true in the near future so various countries can get on it too.
  21. rufio

    rufio TS Rookie Posts: 51

    i live in canada and i don't get free wifi?! maybe in larger cities and downtown toronto
  22. pyari

    pyari TS Rookie Posts: 66

    wow very good news for American......we just paying $22 for 256kbps speed unlimited.....thinking when we can have sucha net......oh ! my my
  23. yangly18

    yangly18 TS Rookie Posts: 217

    Definatly agree on the screwing of the people when it comes to internet. There's gotta be a catch considering that old saying, nothing is free...If there was free internet im sure plenty of people who dont use the internet for gaming would just quit their plan and use the free stuff, causing more job loss in america. Now that you think of it, is free internet worth losing all thoes jobs??
  24. mattfrompa

    mattfrompa TS Evangelist Posts: 553   +57

    Let's work some new Cisco CRS-3 routers into this plan! :) At a mere $90,000 per unit, it's a steal *wink for Cisco, that is...
  25. Yoda8232

    Yoda8232 TS Rookie Posts: 145

    Free internet? Not going to happen.
    Free internet countrywide? WHAT A JOKE.
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