Free Nationwide Wireless?



According to the Wall Street Journal, the FCC in it’s December meeting will be looking at the possibility of requiring the winner of the upcoming spectrum auction to use a portion of it’s spectrum to provide free internet access. They would require filtering although the idea is that adults could get unfiltered access with verification. Large wireless networks (as you can imagine) are against the idea, but I wonder if it REALLY is the threat to them that they think.


I think T-Mobile is one of the bigger opponents of this idea. I’ll tell you though. Currently I have a laptop, I have a cell phone and I do NOT plan to pay my wireless company any more money to have internet access “everywhere”. In part, because I know what their version of “everywhere” is. Living in a mountainous area we have some pretty well known dead spots. (Yes, even with THAT network that we can hear now…) I’ll say it has improved in recent years, but, most of the places I need internet access already have wireless networks that I can use.

Anyway…. I’m thinking that the people that would be paying for t-mobile internet access really are probably power users anyway. A free public wireless internet access….. in my view does not have the words high speed written all over it. I mean, it could be that this turns out to be a great thing, but I don’t expect to see speeds rivaling my home cable connection. For many I suspect they’ll find that their private wireless provider gives them better connection speeds.

I hope I’m wrong certainly, I see having free wireless access at one speed and paid at another speed as a great potential “infrastructure” improvement nationally. I’m just skeptical that something done on that large a scale for free will be worth using.

Time will tell (and I’d love to be proven wrong.)

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