Robert Winner

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National free WI-FI for the US

The FCC Chairman has suggested a national free WI-FI system that would be very powerful and available to all Americans.

The 198 Billion dollar cell phone, internet, etc .. industry is actively against this.

This could spur more innovation and WI-FI products.

What is the price tag for anything free from the government. Under Obamacare the government will have access to your bankaccount and this is a means of ensuring that .... and what else.

Just like Obamacare the question is would the federal government be joining a competative market for services. No doubt that we are being gouged, but it is a commercial competative private for profit industry.

Is this a good thing or another step to 1984 and Big Brother?

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    Mar 4 2013: It won't happen.
    Communication lobbies will not let this be.
  • Feb 10 2013: There's no doubt that a national free WI-FI network would lead to innovation; both in WI-FI products, and simply from the increased flow of ideas and information from people who did not have access to the internet before. However, the real question is how much would this cost? Would this money be better spent in other areas?
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    Feb 10 2013: Who remembers when the "Internet" was referred to as the "Information Superhighway?"
    What happened to the Super Highway we were promised, and which we shelled out over a half a trillion dollars for.
    Why does America rank 29th in the world in internet speed? And why do we pay much much more than other countries for the high speed internet, and telephone, and cable access, when we are lucky enough to be wired for service?

    A few answers for the curious:

    http://www.npr.org/2012/09/20/161477162/a-close-look-at-your-bills-fine-print

    Americans are paying high prices for poor quality Internet speeds — speeds that are now slower than in other countries, according to author David Cay Johnston. He says the U.S. ranks 29th in speed worldwide.

    "We're way behind countries like Lithuania, Ukraine and Moldavia. Per bit of information moved, we pay 38 times what the Japanese pay,"
    "If you buy one of these triple-play packages that are heavily advertised — where you get Internet, telephone and cable TV together — typically you'll pay what I pay, about $160 a month including fees. The same service in France is $38 a month."
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      Feb 10 2013: Theodore, I remember the "superhighway". As I recall it was the panacea of the time. I was in the military and we had big plans for this new capability prior to the public announcement. Agencies like the FBI, CIA, etc ... were major players in the development and proposed uses. Just like IBM the government paid for something that private industry jumped on for profit. As to the whys the US lags the other countries ... my theory would be or the ability to raise capabilities one step at a time and charge as much as the market will bear to get the maximum profit for the longest period of time possable. GREED.

      Now a question: Why now. Why has the government decided we could have this technology free after all of these years, Trillions of dollars and millions of jobs would be effected by this decision. So why now. Did the SCOTUS decision that Obamacare is a tax and not a infringement in the comericial world have a impact. Did the advent of Obamacare and the right to have access to your bank account have a impact on this decision. Are we looking at 1984 and Brave New World coming to be and Big Brother is here.

      So why now?

      Thanks for your reply. I wish you well. Bob.
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        Feb 10 2013: Internet access is becoming a utility in much the same way electricity was in the 1900's.
        There is a great advantage to having people sitting in front of computer screens.

        Huxley feared that what we loved, "man's infinite appetite for distraction", will ruin us.
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    Feb 10 2013: Now the FCC proposes this:
    "The swath of airwaves under consideration is currently being used by television stations to broadcast their shows. And if these TV stations agree to sell these airwaves to the FCC, the FCC can use a portion of those airwaves for unlicensed public use. And these airwaves are really strong, in that they travel through concrete walls, over hills, around trees. It's the really strong airwaves that actually the wireless carriers right now are also using to build out what's known as their high-speed Internet network, 4G LTE. So these are very valuable, very desirable airwaves."

    http://www.npr.org/2013/02/05/171138323/fcc-proposes-public-wifi-network
  • Feb 8 2013: I do not think this would be a big benefit to most consumers. I can get free Wi-Fi at the local coffee shop and many other places. Everything electronic is dropping in price so quickly that the private sector might be giving us free Wi-Fi soon, just as a means to sell applications and other services.

    The one aspect of this proposal that seems good to me is providing Wi-Fi to ALL areas of the country, including the most rural, and the remote villages of Alaska.

    Another aspect of this idea is that the government may have to provide a Wi-Fi network to all parts of the country for government and scientific purposes. (For example, for taking the census.) To do this, it might be spending 90% of what it would cost to provide free Wi-Fi to everyone.

    I think the government is already tapping into private Wi-Fi networks, so privacy is not much of an issue.
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      Feb 8 2013: Yeah, I think you are right the government is compiling all it wants. I am a computer user only ... I know very little about the WI FI, WLAN, etc ... To take anything to a single source, in my opinion is a dumb idea free or not. Competition always inspires updates and change. IF the government was the only provider could it then encript all IP uses to their frequency (or what ever its called) and enter the electronics market. If you do not join the "party" (government) then you could not play.

      One of my fears is that we continue to move toward government encroachment into the free market such as Obamacare did to the insurance and health industries. Is this a direct attack on the free market and capitalism itself?

      How would this impact our already failing economy? I can't see how it would help.

      It would be great to have all of the country covered and access provided.

      Thanks for the reply. Bob.
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    Feb 7 2013: In UK already have this issue about the 'cross-over' of remits regarding information on the internet. Essentially I think the majority of the public are rather naive in that they input all sorts of data on the internet without safeguards. Free wi-fi for all sounds really good at first reading but it doesn't work like that. Whilst computers supposedly are error free, it is in the way data is compiled and monitored that difficulties can arise. The cost of technology means whole sectors of the population cannot participate in decisions that impact on them. Other sectors of the population i.e the children, the elderly, the mobility impaired etc, etc - also don't necessarily know or get a say in what information is put on computerised records about them and so cannot correct any errors. Free wi-fi still needs a physical infrastructure and power supply - you might like to see what the scientific community are saying about the activitiy of the sun, CME events and 'the Carrington effect' - the potential effects on technology for all of us. Sometimes these policies need a bit of further investigation before implementation because as the saying goes 'there is no such thing as a free lunch'.
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    Feb 6 2013: On paper, it sounds like a no-brainer, but I worry about the unintended consequences, such as those you mention. I am leery of anything that lets the mice guard the cheese.