FCC Proposes public WiFi across the nation.

An economic boon?

Legitimate infrastructure or unwarranted socialism?

Practical? Impractical?

Is it even politically possible?

It’s interesting that this would not just be a battle between government and business. It appears that it might also be tech giants versus tech giants. Telecom companies would lose out on this, but many other companies might benefit.

How much does this “free” stuff cost?

How much do our toll-free roads cost? The unified structure being proposed sounds like a net plus to me, cost wise.

Sounds great! The analogy to roads is a good one- free WiFi would increase connectivity and in turn competetiveness as compared to other nations.

How could you know without seeing the actual number?

It might be the greatest idea since PB&J, but I’m not signing up until I know how much it’s going to cost. Seems beyond silly to just hand-wave it away.

The actual number? At what point did we know what the final cost of our freeway system would be?

I don’t know. I’d be surprised if we built any phases of it without knowing in advance how much it would cost. And, of course, it gets maintained with gas taxes, so it’s not “free”.

The US is number 12 in speed. And the cloud is unlikely to take off for consumers unless there is some assurance of wifi everywhere. It is not surprising that the phone companies against it, given that they are going to lose revenue from overpriced data plans. Ditto the cable companies.
A good way of paying for it is to have a fee for internet devices, which would mean that people who can’t afford them would not get hit. It is kind of like fees on telephone bills to support service for those far from central offices.

The analogy to the road system is apppropriate on the political side, too.
When they first proposed building the Interstate highways, the railroad corporations launched a fierce lobbying effort, too.
Fortunately, the highways got built. Let’s hope the mythically-hyped “information superhighway” finally does, too.
America’s infrastructure is already lagging behind lots of other countries.

Will I still be able to get all the free porn I want on this Government Provided Internet service?

From the news article:

(bolding mine)

This means it will be useless in my area. And since it will probably be tax money that supports it, this represents an increase in costs for us for little or no benefit.

From my experience, “just about every metropolitan area” means it will not be available for 90% of the geographic USA.

And unless more detail is provided to contradict this, I suspect that by the time it is implemented, it will be too slow and too limited in bandwidth or capacity to be of much use.

You kidding? You’ll be lucky to get ANY porn thru the government filters. What are the chances that this kind of service will be provided without the busybodies insisting on filters, and the politicians agreeing to it?

Interesting. There doesn’t appear to be any clarification of just what ‘across the nation’ means in terms of coverage - it could be anywhere from the downtown cores of a few hundred large cities to coverage of every square inch of land and water across the country, even remote corners of private property.

I’d also worry a little about the negative implications for malicious people to connect anonymously from somewhere on the public network to do dirty deeds, but that probably isn’t much different from logging onto a public terminal at the library or signing into a free hotspot at a Starbucks.

So far as I can tell, no one really understands what’s being proposed (though it doesn’t seem to stop people from voicing strong opinions about it (or, I guess, what it will mean for their porn watching)). . FWIW, I’m pretty sure its not “free wireless internet everywhere”.

Just to be clear, I haven’t voiced support or opposition to it. I just want to know how much it’s going to cost. I’m surprised that question is treated as if I killed someone’s puppy or something…

I have a feeling that maintaining the network, both in terms of hardware and infrastructure, will result in a cost more along the lines of maintaining bridges than maintaining “toll-free” roads, and bridges are maintained through their users through tolls.

Also, would there be usage caps? This system seems to be asking for abuse.

The internet is the highway system of the 21st century. Without a strong opinion on the non-existant details, having a federally funded data infrastructure makes sense for a lot of reasons.

Reporting on this is terrible. I don’t think they’re really giving “free wi-fi” in the sense people are thinking. They’re proposing to allow free use of part of the spectrum for whomever wants to use it for wi-fi services, instead of auctioning it off to the wireless companies for their reserved use (hence the opposition from Verizon et al.). Many companies (like Google, or municipalities) might then use it to offer free service, and the Feds might offer subsidized services to disadvantaged or rural areas (which they already do through other progarms anyways), but its not the Feds picking up your internet and celphone bill.

(IIRC, the wider plan of reapportioning spectrum is supposed to raise money, so the cost will probably be negative (though there might be some sort of opportunity cost to not auctioning off more parts of the spectrum).)

Didn’t a bunch of cities talk a lot about providing free wifi in public areas in the 2000s? I recall hearing discussion, but it never happened in DC, and I have no clue if it happened elsewhere; or if those services still exist today.

Minneapolis does it. The entire city is blanketed in Wi-Fi, and residents can buy access instead of getting service through Comcast or whoever. In addition, some plazas and parks have free access to the same network. I don’t have much experience with it, having always lived in student-focused apartments with included wired internet, but the free access seems to work well enough the times I’ve used it.

Maybe this is what they’re talking about. If so it’s old news from 2010.

http://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-frees-vacant-tv-airwaves-super-wi-fi-technologies