So what is the idea of Universal WiFi? Well, for one thing, the government would be the best source of that WiFi because it means we wouldn’t be paying a separate company. That may also mean we don’t pay anything at all. This would be liberating in so many ways.
We’re sure you’ve been in a public place; probably spending money because your internet access is not available where you live and you’ve thought; it would be great to have access everywhere in the air, free. Well, in one city, Geneva Ill. the city government actually had such a conversation about this very idea.
Challenges and Opinions
This particular panel of city leaders have had conversations and meetings about other, more traditional utilities like water, sewage and trash collection. They have the media and the money to push these such utilities on the public and make them pay the city or a contracted company with the city for those utilities. But as far as WiFi is concerned, the consensus was that it should be the benefits and the cost-effectiveness of the service that promote it.
Benefits to the Public
This would bring about a monumental change. Can you imagine how many children and working poor that can’t take college classes because they are employed? The online e-learning courses have been so helpful in fostering education for so many. Can you imagine the benefit of having it in the air in their city, free? No student can study the entire time in a coffee shop or library. And what about the kids and their homework? Schools have them on computers since day one! So how can they do homework when the parents can’t afford an internet bundle? That stuff is expensive.
There were a few on the same panel that were in opposition. They feel that even a rise in taxes to pay for WiFi would be unfair. Why? Because they are from that school of thought that unless it is a necessity and you are in dire straights; no utility should be paid for by the general population. This puts a bit of a damper on the idea to say the least.
Now, here there is yet another side that both those city leaders all had an issue with. They were asked what they thought if the federal government should make it free to the public. This made the hackles stand up on the back of the necks of a few. the moment the notion that government should be controlling access to our WiFi was mentioned. It also brings up the practical and safety end.
Imagine if you will, the government decides to extract your information? What if there are things, websites etc.. they they just decide to block. And have you called the IRS lately? Or any other government agency? Imagine if you needed technical assistance. Now, sure, that will give thousands of jobs across the country, but, there will be; in a vast country such as this; degraded quality, speed and safety.
Laws and Enforcement for Usage
Then there’s the technical issues as well as instituting laws and regulations of use. Now, we are at the mercy but also have the freedom of use with the companies that you pay for on separate operating systems. Since there is no infinite amount of bandwith there would be a serious issue. People would get dropped off the systems at most inopportune times etc,so new laws and regulations for use would have to be made and then you need an enforcement system.
The push back is something you’ll have to worry about too. The ACLU and everyone else will be out there clogging up the courts once people start crying that they have been bumped; their business website was unfairly blocked etc. this will reek havoc! Most just feel that pay-as-you-go is a better way to go. Some believe that it should be free city by city but that they would mine the individual use and then provide advertising according to their searches. This does invade privacy a bit but the individuals have a bit of control in their settings and it does provide some ROI for the city and businesses.
We would love to say that a viable answer can be given. But as it stands the arguments for and against will continue. The major consensus is that we should all have far more access than we do. So, we will continue to follow the progress.