Matthew's Foray into Blogging

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

No Free WiFi If They Can Help It

The possibility of the City of Houston building a wireless Internet network that residents can access for free has been raised. The proposed WiFi would not be funded with taxpayer dollars. One advantage of a citywide WiFi network is that it would make the Internet accessible to low-income residents. However, such a prospect has met with opposition from telecommunications giants like SBC Corp. and Time Warner. They contend that free WiFi puts government in competition with the private sector.

I disagree. I am not too sympathetic to the telecommunications companies, which I perceive as greedy. Is a public library in competition with Barnes & Noble or BookPeople? This is almost equivalent to a book retailer opening up next to a library, and then trying to shut down the library, on the ground that the library constitutes government competition with private business. The telecommunications companies can innovate and offer a product that people will be willing to purchase, despite the availability of free municipal wireless Internet.


  • Very good argument! I don't think I would have even thought to compare the two.

    By Blogger Ivy the Goober, at 5:27 AM, November 15, 2005  

  • We can't have dem der minorities with access to the internet. They might want to start internet dating too.

    By Blogger Thomas, at 4:55 PM, November 15, 2005  

  • I agree! And f*@k Time Warner & SBC! They've robbed us of enough dollars over the years that they could stand to lose a little. wa wa! We're only billionaires, not bajillioncazillionaires!!! waaaaaa!!!

    (I'm anti-corporate America, if you couldn't already surmise that.)

    Besides, if the city WIFI is like WIFI anywhere else, it would probably be so frustratingly unreliable that lots of people would still keep their DSL or cable internet. Besides, people who already have an internet/digital cable/digital phone package aren't going to drop it in lieu of some crappy WIFI. And I'm sure the city WIFI won't even extend to the suburbs, which is probably the bulk of the TW/SBC customer base anyway. So, yeah, SHUT UP TIME WARNER & SBC!!

    By Blogger!, at 7:05 AM, November 16, 2005  

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