Something of a home-grown story tonight (it’s tired and I wanted to get at least one post in today before bed). This has been around the net a bit, but I thought I’d mention it: San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom is getting some press about his plans to give WiFi to the masses.
Given that I may be moving to San Fran very soon, I’m personally quite pleased to read about this. WiFi hotspots continue to proliferate as companies realize an important thing: people want internet access in places other than their homes and offices. The linked article (San Jose Mercury News) gives some nice specifics about the plan, which will supposedly cost $10 to $18 million, according to Newsom’s figures. Citing the hurdles overcome by Philadelphia, a city currently reviewing final bids for installation of its citywide WiFi network, it will be interesting to see if these plans incite complaints from commercial internet providers hoping to prevent additional competition. Both cities are hoping to increase the prevalence of internet access in lower income areas, as well as provide additional resources for city employees, notably police and fire departments.
This is another one of those projects whose struggles have only begun. Capitalism has many advantages, innovation and choice being two of the best, but nowadays we see more and more proliferation followed by consolidation and ultimately the risk of inflation at the hands of a single service provider (let’s think…cable, phone and internet from a single provider…). I hope municipal control over a service like this one results in what they aim to provide: greater access AND affordability.