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8/30/2007
02:28 PM
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To Dream the Impossible Wi-Fi Dream

The efforts in certain cities to provide free Wi-fi access to all reminds me of the efforts to provide universal health care coverage in this country: Everyone agrees that it's a great idea; everyone knows that it would be beneficial to many; but a combination of politics and finances keep stalling those efforts. The latest Quixotic attempt to provide free Wi-fi access came in Chicago. The city wanted to create a citywide wireless Internet network but after less than two years of trying to get

The efforts in certain cities to provide free Wi-fi access to all reminds me of the efforts to provide universal health care coverage in this country: Everyone agrees that it's a great idea; everyone knows that it would be beneficial to many; but a combination of politics and finances keep stalling those efforts.

The latest Quixotic attempt to provide free Wi-fi access came in Chicago. The city wanted to create a citywide wireless Internet network but after less than two years of trying to get the project off the ground, the city just announced that it is shelving the project.Digital Trends states that the need for "massive public financing" led to the plan's demise. UPI reports that technological advances also made deals with providers like AT&T and Earthlink less attractive.

Similar plans are struggling or went bust in other cities  San Francisco, Houston, Philadelphia, to name just a few  and while DT reports that about 175 cities or regions in the country have full or partial Wi-Fi systems, that represents a very small percentage.

"Muni Wi-Fi is not dead; it's just going through a phase of, uhh, creative destruction," writes Richard Martin in InformationWeek.

Yikes. I'd hate to see this effort lose steam but it's hard to see free Wi-fi access for all as anything but an impossible dream.

Maybe Hilary will come up with something.

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