January 6, 2006 2:19 PM PST

Wi-Fi run by cities: Yea or nay?

A correction was made to this story. Read below for details.

WASHINGTON--As more and more cities weigh getting into the broadband business, there's no shortage of opinions on the topic.

At a Friday debate here, a media-access advocate and a free-market economist squared off about the merits of governmental intervention in what has traditionally been a private-sector venture.

Not only should city governments have the unrestricted ability to create their own wireless broadband networks, but they should also consider baking broadband plans into disaster recovery scenarios, argued Harold Feld, senior vice president of the Media Access Project.

"At this point I think most of us recognize that the Internet is not a luxury," Feld said. "It has become something essential for the conduct of business and even the conduct of everyday life."

At least some locales seem to agree with that logic. "Citing broadband access as a veritable necessity, Philadelphia has already awarded Internet service provider EarthLink a high-profile contract to blanket the city with a 135-square-mile wireless network."

New York and San Francisco have also been pushing for plans, and last week, the United Kingdom unveiled a plan to bring ubiquitous wireless hot spots to nine of its major cities.

But Tom Lenard, a senior fellow at the Progress and Freedom Foundation, said the track record of cities' involvement in similar ventures is "not happy." The evidence, he said, lies in several studies, one of which he authored (click for PDF), that point to money-losing telecommunications firms run by local governments.

"None have been able to cover their costs without being subsidized" by taxpayer money or rate hikes in other public utility bills, such as electricity and water, he said.

Broadband providers like Verizon and BellSouth view the cities' involvement as a threat to their market share and have been lobbying fiercely against the idea. Laws restricting future public broadband schemes have sprung up in about a dozen states, including Pennsylvania--though its governor conceded on signing the measure in December 2004 that Philadelphia could go ahead with its existing plans.

Congress has also taken notice. A bill prohibiting municipal governments nationwide from running such networks surfaced in the House of Representatives last summer, though one proposing just the opposite emerged in the Senate only days later.

Lenard added that large scale wireless broadband networks remain experimental enough to warrant caution. "When the private sector makes bets on one technology or another, it's disciplined by the shareholders," a process that he said tends to occur more efficiently than waiting to vote someone out of office.

But Feld argued that that's missing the point of municipalities' involvement in the first place. Cities are right to step in where "there's a valuable social good or economic benefit that would be distributed if somebody did this, and there's not a rate of return sufficient to attract the private sector"--for instance, in low-income or rural areas.

Local governments should view the devastation of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita as a lesson, Feld said.

Broadband companies were able to throw up wireless networks with ease, he said, in areas where the infrastructure had been washed away--though at a price. New Orleans now plans to offer its own free wireless Internet access to its citizens within a year, which could make it the first major city to do so.

 
Correction: This story incorrectly described the current status of Philadelphia's municipal wireless plans. The city has selected EarthLink as its wireless-network provider.

48 comments

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What about canada?
When are they going to bring free wi-fi to toronto?

Soon, i hope!
Posted by EDIT-XTREEM (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
It will be as "free" as your health care
It will be as "free" as your health care is "free".
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Link Flag
free public wireless internet in Montreal
We did not wait for either the city or governments to do it.

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Posted by My-Self (242 comments )
Link Flag
CityWide WiFi -- Haves vs Have Nots
Should laws be passed to stop Cities or Counties/Parishes from offering Public WiFi?

1. That would be like charging for libraries or roadways.
2. If restricted, the gap between the haves and have-nots gets bigger. There's a social price to pay in limiting educational resources to the public.
3. Most libraries offer limited speed links(11kbps) to PC users, which don't realistically compete with broadband. Yes, possibly with dial-up, which is a dinosaur anyway.
4. The advantages to local business from open access WiFi, just in terms of another avenue of advertisement, far outway any cash loss to low bandwidth providers.
5. Cities should simply take the necessary spectrum via imminent domain laws to increase tax base....
Posted by hiscity (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Do the poor have laptops?
City-wide WiFi is a benefit for the haves at the expense of the have-nots. Does anyone seriously believe that the poor need wifi? How many poor people could take advantage of it? The idea is a sick joke.
Posted by lingsun (482 comments )
Link Flag
speaking of libraries
1. Private libraries/college universities charge for access to their collections, and they're some of the most useful things you'll find in the world. The best roads are toll roads, since they have a steady stream of income to pay for maintenance and bribes (at least where I live - Illinois).
2. Internet access in itself does little to help the gap between rich and poor. If you want I can pull up a government study from a couple years back - 2003 I think - that shows that most "poor" people already have internet access.
3. What can you do with a fast connection that you can't do with the "slow" library connection? Watch online TV? Is that what the disadvantaged need? No, more kbs won't help anyone, except maybe the disabled who could use the extra bandwidth for assistive technologies, and that's only in theory. In fact the faster the web goes, the LESS accessible it becomes to the vision and sound impaired, and those with other disabilities. That's since the content becomes more interactive and immersing, and thus relies on full functioning senses. Not too long ago, the web was nothing but text and images with &lt;ALT TEXT&gt; tags - things perfectly suited to people with vision loss such as myself. Now to download DRIVERS for a printer I have to navigate non-accessible flash. Thanks broadband.
4. Web access that's paid for by advertising - that reminds me of something - ah yes the .com bubble. Who needs income, if you can just have a presence and some ads. Sorry, that doesn't pay the up-front costs.
5. The last one is just a throw-away. Cities can't take imminent domain of the spectrum since it belongs to the federal government. The feds were smart enough to leave parts of the spectrum to PRIVATE individuals, and it has resulted in great innovation again and again. In fact, more spectrum should be opened as opposed to tied up in virtually worthless analog TV.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Keep government out
Keep the government out of the internet business. If they get in the WiFi business then they can control the content and we all know where that will lead. I think private enterprise is doing a great job just the way it is. The net ain't broke. Don't try to fix it.
Posted by yrrahxob (77 comments )
Reply Link Flag
controlling content?
So I guess you haven't been paying attention to the SBC and Verizon executives talking about how they want to filter packets to encourage the use of their own services as opposed to their competitors, in areas like streaming video, VoIP, etc? I say this is another option, and the more the better. If there was anything like effective regulation of the telecoms, I might be persuaded that they were doing a good enough job. But with the massive amounts of money big telecom is pouring into the fight against municipal broadband and network neutrality, the days where we have it good are soon coming to a close. Look forward to having your ISP sniffing your packets to decide whether they like the type of data you're sending. I'd much prefer laws on the books that would prohibit packet sniffing and enshrine network neutrality, rather than banning Municipal broadband.
Posted by wiz420 (6 comments )
Link Flag
NO
Of course a NO. Unless we are in a desparate shape of boardband access, government should never get into any commercial activities. I live in NYC, there's a big governmental building in construction near my home. It's be at least a year. The soccer field in front of the building is done, but the construction is slow as hell. In the meantime, a shopping mall that starts construction a couple months ago already has the steel frame done. That's just one example. Also, look at how "effective" the MTA is. I don't know about other people think. The MTA is badly managed. The workers have unbelievable high paid, but the service is unbelievable low. I don't blame it entirely on the workers, because it's the executives' job to manage. The labor problem SHOULD NOT get to the point that the union striked.

So, to put it simply, big government is the worst thing to happen, the next worst thing is big monopoly without competition.
Posted by Pixelslave (101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes. Anti-monopoly.
Cities should not have the right to exclude
private WiFi networks, but they should,
themselves, have the right to provide them.
Experience shows that if the cities cannot
provide the service, private services will arise
only where it is most profitable. I'll grant
you that New York City, to reply to a prior
poster, may be such a place, but such places
aren't that common. Less than half the country
even now has decent internet service of ANY
nature. Either a recalcitrant phone company or
a uninterested cable company, or some
combination of both ensure that broadband isn't
widely available. I live close to San
Francisco, I broadband connections not only only
became available in the last couple of years
(depending on exactly which block you live on),
but it's already devolving into a monopoly
situation. Allowing the cities to provide WiFi
will limit the amount of damage that the
cable/DSL monopolies can do.
Posted by aLinuxUser (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
I just wrote an article about models of municipal Wi-Fi
Staying on my theme of unique business models powering technology commercialization and sustainability, I reference a CNET article called "Sunlight powers streetlights, Wi-Fi access". To summarize, a company in Scotland has developed a solar-powered streetlight which can also be used to power a Wi-Fi or WiMax router. The company is doing a test run in the Scottish town of Dundee.

The article does not touch on what model these streetlights will be sold. However, imagine this. A city needs streetlights. A city does not NEED a universally accessible wi-fi cloud, though having one can be a boost to business recruitment, image, and emergency communication capabilities. Furthermore, it can enhance the city's schools by bridging the gap for disadvantaged kids and involving parents. Schools enhance property value. Increasing property values enhance a city's tax coffers.

Community wi-fi initiatives are pitifully underserved. Municipal priorities are rightfully focused on police, fire, EMS, sewage, hospitals, infrastructure (such as those streetlights), etc. If a city has extra budget -- and when does that happen? -- wi-fi just does not fall onto the radar. Some cities, such as Austin where I live, have non-profit organizations dedicated to bringing free wi-fi, but they are mostly geared towards getting store-owners to buy equipment, and the store-owners use it as a means to generate traffic. Austin is one of the most wi-fi'd cities on earth, and I still get frustrated with its lack of availability and uniformity. When I leave town, just finding free wi-fi is a pain.

Now, an innovation such as the streetlight product, can pay for itself while helping the city save on electric bills and providing that needed wi-fi connectivity. Going solar always involves a large up-front expense, but the elimination of ongoing electricity bills. I envision a model whereby a city can use its municipal borrowing capacity to fund the purchase of the units and the cost of setting up the wi-fi cloud. Immediately, the city's increased cash flow from the elimination of electricity usage can fund part of the interest and principal payments on the muni bonds.

Secondly, the wi-fi cloud can be outsourced to a management company which will, in turn, cut the city on royalties from advertising. In many places, when you log on to a wi-fi network, the opening "splash page" on the browser requires a login. Don't you think local merchants would love to target upscale, laptop-owning right in their neighborhood? The city could sell premium ad space to, say, realtors specializing in one particular neighborhood. Grocery stores could show their insert specials. Conversely, advertisers could target only upscale neighborhoods for products that sell in those neighborhoods, and increase reach in the poorer neighborhoods.

This model really isn't that different from the model used in radio today. The government gives a license to a company that will put up a tower and broadcast commercial messages as long as they can co-opt the tower in times of emergency. The city could also mandate decency standards for the splash page.

So, revenues from advertising, cost reductions from electricity bills pay the coupons on the interest and principal from the underwritten bonds. The city gets a wi-fi cloud for free. Schools win. The community wins. The technology wins. The environment wins.

Mark Brandon
Sustainable Log - News and Views for Socially Responsible Investors
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Posted by 208mbrandon (23 comments )
Reply Link Flag
YES in usa
i am getting really tired of those saying it would enable to govern the internet.

the USA government (where i live) have had the ability to completely control the internet and content. due to the bill of rights and such.. they DONT and NEVER WILL. the only content that is taken down by the FBI is ILLEGAL content. (..child porn)

having wireless cities wouldnt change any of that. yes, the government would be able to monitor the internet, JUST AS THEY ALREADY DO AND CAN.

its just idiotic to protest this. free wireless internet throughout the country would be absolutely fantastic.
Posted by assman (1101 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Nothing is free
I think it's bad for government to provide internet access, but not for the civil liberties reason, which I agree with you is not a good one.

The reason I don't like it is that it would lead to endless waste. Cities do an atrocious job managing buses and the few utilities they control, what would happen if you add tens of thousands of access points? Just go down to city hall and try to get something done. I needed to transfer a car registration sticker and the people working there for "20 years" kept giving me the wrong form. I spent an hour telling them it's the wrong form, but they insisted I was wrong. In order to get it resolved I had to make a big scene. Now put THOSE people in charge of all that internet infrastructure. Even if the municipal access would work correctly (and that's a big if) it would cost the city many times over what a private company could do. If the city doesn't charge for it, then it has to recoup its costs somewhere else. Hmm where do cities get their money? Fairies or pixies? Not only that by state law most cities can't run deficits. So they can't wait to get back money for some half-wit advertising scheme. Take the funds from the internet roll-out and invest it in schools and fire stations.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Not!
Keep 'em out. I live in an area of Florida where our city owns the local electric company. This poorly run business (by the city) has cost the taxpayers huge! I agree that having a city-run wi-fi could help competition if allowed (No Monoply), but leave it up to the private sector. If citizens will get off their butts and pressure their legislators to encourage competition of all kinds -- phone servce, cable etc! We can have the very best services. I vote for lawmakers who will help keep businesses in check, not stifle them and certainly not to run them. State owned? State Run? Not in my country!
Posted by not-ez (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Seconded
wifi is not designed for this type of roll out. If some city insists on wasting its money on this, at least have the sense to "franchise" some corporation to run the system, much like they do with cable. Still cable is a natural monopoly, while broadband access is not. So whatever justification you have for having a single cable company, there's little reason to have a single wifi signal for the city.

It's what happens when some aldermen get routers from bestbuy for Christmas and decide that rolling this out is easy.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
State control is worse than municipal operation
I think we are on the same side, sort of....
Repeating my sentiment from elsewhere in this thread: Federal and State *prohibition* of municipal intention to provide service is fundamentally undemocratic and Worse than municipal failure to adequately provide service.
You the taxpayer have every opportunity to organize locally and redress your grievance agasint the municipality. Bought and paid for Congressman and Court appointed Federal Executives are owned by corporations (I assume you are probably a shill for one yourself), and willnot protect me in my municipality.
I am happy with the services of Holyoke Gas and Electric, and the prinicpled stance against privatizaiton that ruined Dennis Kucinich as Mayor of Cleveland saved Clevelanders millions.
Do your onw work and keep the Feds and Stathouses out of our towns where fundamentally rights are not concerned.
Posted by (22 comments )
Link Flag
Do It Yourself
What about community networks such as www.radiuz.net? It's possible to self start networks on an as needed basis.
Posted by (4 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Yes--Make it Free
"connected" cities will offer free wi-fi. businesses will find that appealing when selecting locations for meetings, conferences, conventions, etc. students will find it a great convenience in their studies. citizens will find enjoy strolling in the park and stopping to work on an important idea (okay, who's carrying a laptop when strolling, but you get the idea).

the problems: anyone who can make a buck off selling wi-fi--they'll fight it every step of the way because they have no real interest in making their cities a better place, despite their ad's that say "we live here, too!". and certain groups that will feel compelled to restrict content that they find "offensive". then the real battles start--just like with the public libraries.

mark d.
Posted by markdoiron (1138 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Foolish - Nothing is FREE
City-run WiFi is anything but free. The enormous cost will be spread among the taxpayers. Meaning that, for the wealthy, the cost of internet access will go up. It will only appear free if you are too poor to pay taxes.... in which case, one might wonder how you got the wireless laptop in the first place.

Wireless Internet is a LUXURY. The government has no business distributing luxuries. Internet Access has already been made available through school, libraries, and private contracts. Nobody NEEDS wireless. The only people who would get it "free" need other things far more.
Posted by David Arbogast (1709 comments )
Link Flag
Wi-Fi run by cities
Whilst in the US arguments carry on about who should make the installations, in France even the smallest village has DSL provided by the telecoms company at a reasonable price. In the UK, London has more hotspots than the East Coast of the US combined.

The US is way behind and still arguing.
Posted by fw6762 (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
How do you spell
T-I-N-Y, as in tiny countries? You can fit all of France, UK, South Korea into the original 13 colonies. Hmmm, who's going to build infrastructure faster?
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Yeah! Not Nay --- To Wi-Fi *Freeways*
Ours is the Land of the Freeway and it should also be the Land of Free Wi-Fi Access to the Information Highway. Like access to the public street in front of ones home is free, so too should Wi-Fi access to the information highway be free.

All residents in the Land of the Free should have free access to Basic Wi-Fi Network Services, and this access should be based upon the Freeway Model not the Toll Road Model.

Merely providing *low-cost* access to the Internets Information Highway doesnt go far enough. Providing low-cost Internet access equates to converting all public streets into low-cost Toll-Roads. This is unthinkable. Ours is the Land of the Freeway and should also be the Land of Free Wi-Fi Access to the Information Highway.

I believe the Public Utility Model is the wrong model to apply to Public Wi-Fi. Public broadband should be treated like a public road not a public utility.

Each and every time I access the street at the foot of my driveway it is *free* because it is paid for by all citizens through general, cross-societal tax revenues. This is the Freeway Model. In a like manner, each and every time I access the Information Highway via the *802.11 On-Ramp* it should also an *Information Freeway.*

The analogous network model for Public Wi-Fi is clearly the network infrastructure model of free public roads, streets, highways and byways that interconnect of villages, towns and cities. This network of public streets and roads is maintained by county, state and federal governments so citizens can travel from Point A to Point B in their daily pursuit of life, liberty and happiness without paying a toll each time they leave their driveway or place of business.

Access to the Wi-Fi Network is just like accessing the network of public highways and byways. It is about local governments promoting and supporting the general e-welfare by implementing a public network infrastructure of FREE Wi-Fi Access to the Information Highway.

Making citizens pay a Public Road Network Access Fee Toll as they exit their driveways to access the public street in front of their homes is unthinkable. All you Dudes &#38; Surf Bunnies out there in the vast e-wastelands, imagine having to pay a toll to access the PCH, A1A, U.S. 101, Beachside Way or the network of Interstate Highways each time you *stoke up* your Woodie surf wagon to go on a Surfari. NO WAY, DUDE! So each time you *stoke up* your PC and access the Internet Information Highway to go e-Surfing it should also be Toll-Free.

Free access and connectivity to the Wi-Fi Web in Your Town, USA is an issue of the constitutional purpose of government. As enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, the government should *promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.* Here in the 3rd Millennium, these constitutional guarantees apply to promoting the general e-welfare and e-securing the blessings of e-liberty to each and every Freewebizen.

They equate to an individual citizens freedom to walk down the public streets in their neighborhood without having to pay a toll or a fee each time they go out their front door. The NETWORK of city, town and village streets and roads LINK us to the geographic NODES of our friends, families and business associates. They are part of the government provided common NODAL NETWORK infrastructure established and maintained by the government so each citizen will have the liberty to freely travel down the public highways and byways that LINK their HOME NODE to the NODES of friends, relatives and businesses.

Free-Web For All, Web-Freedom For All - JP B-)
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
No Big Gov: Run it off of 3G or stailite
Run it off of 3G or stailite.
Posted by Blito (436 comments )
Reply Link Flag
or fixed point wireless
Screw 3G or some overpriced sat. The technology is already here and it's been rolled out successfully in several major cities! It allows you to cover an entire city, including "the have nots" for a 50+ mile radius. It's microwave based fixed point wireless. See <a class="jive-link-external" href="http://www.sprintbroadband.com/" target="_newWindow">http://www.sprintbroadband.com/</a> for an example of a service. I got it in 2001, and I had speeds of 300kbs, now it's like 1.2mbs. All you need to do is stick an antenna on a tall building, like I don't know a TV tower maybe, which are EVERYWHERE.

These calls for "city wide" wifi are nothing more than a publicity ploy to get attention from the public and to show how tech savy some otherwise third-rate legislator is.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
Vision for the Vision Impaired
I appreciate Sanen Azok's well considered reply!
1. Yes, private is better than public if you can afford it. Enjoy your caviar.
2. Have you looked for a job recently? Internet access is a necessity for applying to a surprisingly large number of companies. I believe this is a recent trend from the past few years. So the poor are forced into more and more desperate measures without access.
3. I'll agree, but the issue is not bandwidth -- it's broad coverage. The point is that CityWide WiFi can reach everywhere within the coverage cloud -- even to low speed devices. A low speed terminal is all that's needed to survive. Fast enough for a basic phone would be great. Your point about easing access for the disabled is wonderful and deserves a whole separate thread!
4. Sorry, different angle. Advertising pays for itself and seeks out any new avenue of presentation. So no need for Advertisers to offer hardware. I don't remember an advertiser ever offering even so much as a free AM radio....
5. As to Imminent Domain applying to spectrum... cell topology (as in wireless) makes spectrum access geographic in honeycomb arrays. The spectrum is no longer simply "out there everywhere." For low power emisions -- that means the entire EM band is "for sale" in every neighborhood. I'll agree the laws haven't caught up to the technology -- yet!
6. I can see the Pay-As-You-Go providers offering low cost basic WiFi terminals (like dumb PDAs) -- if the cloud is available. Or WiFi added to MP3 players or to watches with epaper displays. YahooGo is about ubiquitous computing. CityWide Broadband is more about low-power wide spectrum transmission than about data speed.
7. I'd be happy for the cities just to provide the cloud to non-commercial properties like roadways and parks. I still want PC tech "on the body" and "out the door." We're almost there. Let McDonalds and StarBucks provide ecloud coverage in their locations. Let the Cities provide it in theirs.

Vision for the Vision impaired!
Posted by hiscity (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
mmmm
1. Soviets popularized caviar as a winter snack. I'm no commie, don't care much for it. BBC just ran a story how the wholesale consumption of the stuff is affecting fish population.
2. Yes, internet access is necessary, but it's already available, to everyone, including the poor. Sure it's not at home broadband, but it's available. You'll find it as public institutions, libraries, community centers. The people who truly lack internet access - those in outlying areas and away from city centers won't be covered by CITY wifi.
3. The other poster insisted that broadband in libraries is not fast enough. Anything below 200kbs is not broadband, per FCC, and that's a very low threshold.
4. The other post made it seem that ad revenue would be used to build and support the network. That's a pipe dream. Cities can't run deficits, unlike AM radio stations, practically all of which get loans on future ad income to buy new equipment. Cities can't do that and ad revenue from internet access doesn't work. Is there a single private company that offers free ad-supported DSL, even at the lowest speed? Well, not today there isn't. Pre .com bust there were several. In fact I almost got service from one, and then they went under.
5. I don't know what you mean by that the EM band is "for sale." In order to use anything other than the free-for-all frequencies you need a federal license. Sometimes you need to get that license at an auction, other times (government/experimental use) feds give it to you for free. No city can reserve parts of that spectrum or do anything about people using it.
6. Is there any product like this available anywhere? Shouldn't it already exist in countries with high wifi/broadband penetration such as South Korea?
7. I would love this too, but problem is that cities lack the expertise and skill to pull it off. That's my concern - that any such installation would basically be non-functioning half the time and too slow to be worthwhile the other time. How would having an internet connection everywhere help the poor or the disadvantaged? Do they need it to fill out job applications in the park? PC tech on the body?
8. Schools, fire, and police should be where the city invests in. No city ever has been in the telecommunications business and thrived. There's a reason for that. You'll discover that reason the next time your city will come to resurface the road by your house. It'll take them a month, even though a resurfacing of the parking lot at my job was done in two days. Did I remember to mention what happened when a water pipe burst? It's the only utility the city manages, and it took them 2 days (and angry calls to the alderman) to come to the site. The street was an ice rink.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Link Flag
No to nore government
People should just say "NO" to government run Wifi. Afraid of private companies tracking you on the internet? Just wait for the day when your local/state government start using Wifi to track your movement and purchases, and then taxing you based on that information.

And is customer service bad at your local ISP? Try dealing with government customer service. Try getting an educated answer at the IRS or Medicare (or just getting thru). The same people who work at the RMV will be running your internet access? No thanks

The government should try to improve on what it is doing now, before getting involved in more "projects" that will inevitably enlarge and waste more taxpayer dollars.
Posted by skshrews (98 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Obviously you don't live in the US....
.... because not just the rich have access to healthcare in the US. We, in the US, don't have quite as many waiting lists to get into doctors offices, and have some of the world's most advanced medical technology available to us and have access to some of the world's best doctors and train the many of the world's doctors. While I have heard of people going to get prescriptions in Canada, you don't hear of many going to Canada for its premium health care.
Posted by sumwatt (69 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Canadian health care
To all those who are critical of Canadian health care.
In Canada -health care is universal -covering every man woman and child.
Yes, there are waiting times for some elective surgery,but otherwise prompt.
All Canadians are covered by drug plans,and whatever copayments we make are small- considering that our drug prices are less than half of yours.
And last but not least-you can look this up on Google-life expectancy at birth for Canadians is amongst the highest in the world!
Candian males- 3 years longer than Americans
Canadian females almost 4 years longer than Americans.
The longer life expectancy is not because of our wonderful climate (ha ha), nor is it beacuse of our better diet(we eat the same crap as you do )but can only be a result of better preventive medicine and health care in our country!
CANADA-THE TRUE NORTH STRONG AND FREE-AND HEALTHIER!
stancanada@videotron.ca
Posted by stancanada (1 comment )
Link Flag
Yes, No and Maybe
YES.
You live in a small town in the middle of Kansas with a stable or declining population.
There is no way that the local telecom provider nor the local cable company (or sorry, there is no local cable company) will bring high-speed internet access to every household. Increase your taxes and spend the money to get everyone connected at high speed. If you don't, the town will die faster. If you do, you will slow down or reverse the death spiral.

NO.
You live in a large city with both the telecom and cable companies providing high-speed internet access. Why would you spend tax dollars to compete (and lose)? No city goverenment can participate in a technology that has a half-life of 18 months. They are mentally incapable of dealing with such a fact of life.

MAYBE.
You live in something bigger than a small dying town and smaller than a large city.

,dave
Posted by davebarnes (40 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Hellz Yea
I'm so tired of our public officials putting restrictions and glass
ceilings over our potential technological growth. Remember the
digital Beta tape innovated by Japan? It was 10 times better than
VHS but we wanted to push "our" VHS tape and player as the
primary media for our movies. For 20 years we had to endure
poor quality sound and video. To our defense we didn't know
any better so we comtinued to spend billions on this inferior
analog media. But the powers that be (corporate &#38;
governmental), did. We won't even get into hybrid automobiles
or alternative fuels. And lets definitely not bring up our 3 to 4
year technological lag behind Europe &#38; Japan's cell phones and
related services. Why not let us enjoy internet everywhere? Like
the author said, the internet is not a luxury anymore. E-
commerce, paying bills (yeah your Verizon bill too), news, maps,
directions, e-mail and stock trades. All this can be done while
having lunch anywhere and not just your select wi-fi coffee
shop. I don't know about you guys but I think we should start
living by our national creed of freedom. I know our forefathers
didn't foresee the technology of today but they sure had a
broader idea of freedom than our elected officials and corporate
leaders of today. Let us grow for once. I could give a rats little
hairy butt if Verizon or any other company doesn't like it.
Posted by Daniel Branch (8 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just as long as City sifi is cheaper
Just as long as City sifi is cheaper and or free than what verizon would do the job for then yeah I say go for it!
Posted by inachu (963 comments )
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It worked beautifully in Jerusalem
I dont know what kind of problems there could be with city hot spots. WHen I was in Jerusalem they unveiled wireless in the city center. It saved me a lot of trouble and money, and pretty soon half the city center was coated in teenagers on their laptops.
The internet cafes doubtless lost money, but Internet is enough of a necessity that people shouldn't have to pay for it. RAdio is free, standard TV is free, internet should be free.
Posted by Howlleo (5 comments )
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internet should be free.....
.... only if you are willing to put up with radio and TV level
advertising campaigns......
Posted by Earl Benser (4310 comments )
Link Flag
Public/Private Partnership
It is an important point that seems to often be left out - Philadelphia is a public/private partnership relationship between Wireless Philadelphia and EarthLink. EarthLink will build and own the network and provide opportunities for those that are financially disenfranchised to get a wireless broadband connection. Further, our model is one of open access - other providers will be able to do business with us to sell their services to users on the network. These are important points that are left out on an ongoing basis by many pundits in regards to the Philly/ELNK muni wi-fi project
Posted by Jerry Grasso (9 comments )
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