February 4, 2013
AFTER ALL, THEY'RE OUR AIRWAVES:
Tech, telecom giants take sides as FCC proposes large public WiFi networks (Cecilia Kang, Published: February 3, 2013, Washington Post)
Posted by Orrin Judd at February 4, 2013 3:51 PMThe airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.The new WiFi networks would also have much farther reach, allowing for a driverless car to communicate with another vehicle a mile away or a patient's heart monitor to connect to a hospital on the other side of town.If approved by the FCC, the free networks would still take several years to set up. And, with no one actively managing them, connections could easily become jammed in major cities. But public WiFi could allow many consumers to make free calls from their mobile phones via the Internet. The frugal-minded could even use the service in their homes, allowing them to cut off expensive Internet bills."For a casual user of the Web, perhaps this could replace carrier service," said Jeffrey Silva, an analyst at the Medley Global Advisors research firm. "Because it is more plentiful and there is no price tag, it could have a real appeal to some people."