The city of Philadelphia, like other cities wants to offer free and public wireless internet service (WiFi) to its businesses and residents. Free WiFi would be GREAT for businesses, enhancing the productivity of urban workforces. However, there’s push back from telecommunication companies such as Verizon, who see this as (and it is) a threat to their businesses.
If your city is trying to offer FREE WiFi, see what you can do to make sure it happens.
USA Today writes Regional and long-distance phone companies, who sell broadband Internet to consumers and businesses, have in recent months intensified a national campaign to quash municipal wireless initiatives like Philadelphia’s as dozens of cities and towns have either begun or announced such plans ? from San Francisco to Chaska, Minn., to St. Cloud, Fla.
Telecommunications companies are doubly worried because hundreds of other municipalities provide broadband service over cable or telephone lines.
The idea of cheap, municipally provided Internet as social leveler is particularly appealing to big city politicians.
“We looked at it as a way to be a city, literally, of the 21st century,” said Barbara Grant, a spokeswoman for Philadelphia Mayor John F. Street. “We wanted to bridge the digital divide for residents who wouldn’t have access to the Internet, particularly schoolchildren.”
Plus, the service could help make Philadelphia “hip” enough to stem the outward flow of college graduates, she said.
But the telecoms industry, its business in turmoil as such disruptive technologies as Voice over Internet calling turn traditional revenue models on end, calls such public-sector projects unfair competition.
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