Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, May 03, 2021

Predictably, telecoms and others aren’t too happy about local government efforts to set up free wi-fi hotspot zones. Instead of merely grumbling about it, they’re mobilizing lobbying forces to outlaw implementation, with 10 state legislatures already drafting bills to curb the movements.

“This isn’t a grass-roots backlash,” said Ron Sege, chief executive of wireless gear firm Tropos Networks, which supports municipal wireless plans. “This is an organized campaign of disinformation.”

I’ve questioned the wisdom behind city-run wireless networks. I like free and easy as much as the next guy, but local governments have to take their business constituents’ interests into consideration, too. It makes no sense to undercut a wireless provider’s market. I can see the justification for a municipally-run network in a suburban or rural area, where private providers can’t/won’t do anything. But in a big metro like Philadelphia, it’s only causing needless clashes.

So I can see the self-preservation motive for Verizon and others to squash this early. It’ll be fascinating to see the campaign take form; enlisting think tanks and other opinion-influencers is a classic early step.

There’s probably room for both the free and pay-for models, after the requisite tussling. I can see a system where a free service offers wide coverage, but is relatively low-bandwith, good mostly for spot-checking email and brief surfing for 5-minute increments. Private networks can step in to fill more intensive connectivity needs, for power users (mobile businesspeople, etc.) who need a super-reliable and -secure connection for big file transfers and other heavy, always-on usage.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 05/03/2021 09:18:25 AM
Category: Wi-Fi | Permalink |

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  1. […] back on how it performs. Even though it’s not a free wi-fi offering, I imagine that established telcos won’t be too happy about this templa […]

    Pingback by Population Statistic — 05/07/2021 @ 07:19:43 PM

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