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Free WiFi

What do you think?





 

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It's about time. The U.S. has some of the highest prices for DSL or cable Internet access and my cable company just announced even higher rates starting in January. With the carriers firm in the belief that they should be allowed to charge for data transport in addition to simple Internet access something needs to be done to push rates and expectations into a more realistic range. The carriers don't own the Internet and shouldn't be the gatekeepers as to who gets what service.

This is great, but it could mean wireless providers would be sleazing up tactics so people keep paying their internet services. Granted, some geeks will still keep theirs because of higher speeds/roaming, but many would be content with WiFi if it's free.

Another thing is that T-Mobile has this $10 unlimited voice plan if you call through Wifi in some of their phones. Mine has it, but I can't get the plan just yet (not enough credit rating), but I can make calls through my own WiFi and others just fine, it's great when you don't have a signal at home. So this could make T-Mobile change this kind of deals.

Consider this:

I am totally in favor of the Internet, and offering widespread Internet access for free.

However, I am genuinely concerned about the anti-1st Amendment history of the FCC.

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/obscene.html

Assuming the FCC one day regulates free wifi, is it not logical to assume a corresponding extension to the obscenity laws to cover this new responsibility?

Of course they will. They have already started with mention of a "filter". Of course, they claim this filter would be optional for adults, but how exactly would that work? One possibility: an account/login process so that the system knows who you are, and by extension, your age. Another option: software installed to the client machine to handle authentication.

I realize this is just another doomed crusade of mine. After all, how can paranoia compete with free? But I implore you to really consider what a Federally-regulated Internet would look like.

This isn't about porn or naughty words- this is about freedom of speech.

George Carlin's take:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNBCTjTkx5I <>

Update: this article is very much worth your time for a better understanding of this issue:

http://gigaom.com/2008/12/14/google-turns-its-back-on-network-neutrality/

I agree that universal free internet is a worth while goal and quite frankly makes me salivate, however, I haven't heard of a system for "protecting the children" that doesn't also defacto amount to a significant decrease in privacy and/or increase in censorship. Really, I don't see why the filtering for children shouldn't occur at the terminal end. The government doesn't need to censor the internet to protect children when parents can do it instead.

I don't know, it's not like they're censoring private networks too.

Note that they require an "Adult Content" filter. Well, if everyone is getting free internet, few people will actually pay for internet. What else could they possibly regulate? If the majority of the masses get filtered internet, then it negates the whole idea of what the potential of internet really could be.

If the free WiFi is slow and censored, I expect the situation will be much like free TV vs cable - and as of late cable is king.

If free WiFii in places like airports comes to pass, it'd be nice to avoid the captive audience ripoff we have now.

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