September 03, 2004

Municipal WiFi

The city of Philadelphia is considering making the entire area a WiFi hotspot. Of course, some people aren't too happy with that:

...But free citywide Internet access would appear to pose a competitive threat to businesses such as local phone carrier Verizon Communications Inc. and cable provider Comcast Corp. Both companies have invested heavily in upgrading their networks to provide high-speed Internet connections for a monthly fee.

A free service might also hurt Verizon's wireless business, which is spending $1 billion to upgrade its network with a technology that will enable speedier Web access for laptops and mobile phones.

John Yunker, an analyst with Byte Level Research, said those companies could face a serious challenge if cheap, or free, Wi-Fi proliferates.

"When you see initiatives like Philadelphia's, you are conditioning people to expect free or very low cost Internet service. And that is going to be a problem for providers who have built a business model around charging a fee," he said.

While business users might be willing to pay extra for reliability or national coverage, a free service might prove more than adequate for more recreational Web use, Yunker said. ...

I know I'd feel just terrible if a local government managed to outcompete private industry. Terrible. Really. I swear, I'm not smirking behind my keyboard at all.

Posted by natasha at September 3, 2004 03:42 AM | Internet | Technorati links |
Comments

no, of course you're not ... just like I am neither ... not at all ... in the slightest ...

Posted by: Sarah at September 3, 2004 12:45 PM

"When you see initiatives like Philadelphia's, you are conditioning people to expect free or very low cost Internet service. And that is going to be a problem for providers who have built a business model around charging a fee," he said.

I've been finding the 'business model' right that corporations have been discovering in the last few years to be very interesting. Individuals don't have a right to their career, if businesses decide they don't need any more buggy whip makers. Consumers don't have any rights regarding the media they purchase; those rights reside with the copyright holder. But if you're a corporation that's been making money with a particular business model, you do have the right to have that business model remain profitable indefinitely, enforced by law if necessary (see: DMCA).

Right.

Posted by: NBarnes at September 4, 2004 04:42 PM