Thursday, October 20, 2005

Wireless Dream

«A growing number of cities in the US are treating high-speed internet as a basic amenity for citizens, like running water or the electricity grid. But as the concept expands so does the battle with big business.

Earlier this month, Philadelphia - one of America's oldest and most historic cities - thrust itself onto the technological frontline by announcing plans to build the biggest municipal wireless internet system in the country.

The 135-square-mile network will be built and managed by Earthlink, and will offer low-income residents a service for about $10 (£5.70) a month.» (

San Francisco is thinking of following suit, but of course, the big telecoms firms, who have invested billions in cable or fibre optic links, are not taking this encroachment on their market lying down. They are submitting bills to ban such municipal initiatives.

I happen to agree with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom
who said that wi-fi as a basic service is inevitable and long overdue. « It is a fundamental right to have access universally to information». Montreal is now in the midst of a municipal election. My vote will go to the party that promises to give universal and quasi-free wi-fi access to Montrealers.

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