FCC proposes large public Wi-Fi networks

Tech, telecom giants take sides as FCC proposes large public WiFi networks – The Washington Post:

The 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.

Seems like a pretty amazing plan. Here’s the opposition:

Some Republican lawmakers have criticized Genachowski for his idea of creating free WiFi networks, noting that an auction of the airwaves would raise billions for the U.S. Treasury.

That sentiment echoes arguments made by companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon WirelessIntel and Qualcomm, in a letter to the FCC staff late last month, that the government should focus its attention on selling the airwaves to businesses.

So that’s another industry that has bought the Republicans. 

One way to look at it: someone is going to benefit from this radio spectrum. Who should it be: the telecoms, or everyone else?

UPDATE: It isn’t happening.

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