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wireless a basic right? wtf????

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by ridetoofast, Oct 4, 2005.

  1. ridetoofast

    ridetoofast scarred, broken and drunk

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    http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/nm/20051004/wr_nm/telecoms_wireless_sanfrancisco_dc_2

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who became internationally known for his campaign a year ago to legalize gay marriage, said on Monday he considered wireless Internet access a fundamental right of all citizens.

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    Newsom told a news conference that he was bracing for a battle with telephone and cable interests, along with state and U.S. regulators, whom he said were looking to derail a campaign by cities to offer free or low-cost municipal Wi-Fi services.

    Wi-Fi is a short-range wireless technology that is now built into most laptop computers and is increasingly offered on handheld computers and certain mobile phones. Local officials are mulling plans to blanket every nook and cranny of this hilly city of 750,000 residents with Wi-Fi access.

    "This is inevitable -- Wi-Fi. It is long overdue," Newsom told a news conference at San Francisco's City Hall. "It is to me a fundamental right to have access universally to information," he said.

    Officials said 24 proposals had been turned into the city to deliver wireless Internet services, ranging from Web search company Google Inc., Cingular, the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier, to Internet service provider EarthLink Inc..

    Newsom told reporters he hoped to streamline the final bidding process and choose a contractor to build the city-wide wireless service in as little as five to six months.

    But a series of public hearings and city approval processes, as well as potential lawsuits by opponents, could drag the process out far longer, he cautioned.

    Making wireless access affordable to the entire population of San Francisco was a vital step to differentiating the city in order to make it more economically competitive on a state, national and global level, Newsom said.

    But the mayor also singled out the power of Wi-Fi as an alternative network to provide emergency information to all citizens in the event a natural disaster such as an earthquake were to strike the city and knock out other communications.

    "CIVIL RIGHTS ISSUE"

    Wireless access can be seen a basic right that should be available not just to business professionals but also lower-income citizens. "This is a civil rights issue as much as anything else," Newsom said.

    The mayor said he had no exact figures on how much it would cost to build a wireless umbrella to cover the entire city, but cited general estimates that have ranged from $8 million to $16 million for antennas and other gear.

    "My intent is to have the taxpayers pay little or nothing," Newsom said of the municipal wireless project.

    Chris Vein, director of telecommunication and information services for the City of San Francisco declined to comment on whether any of the participants planned to use an alternative technology known as WiMAX, which provides higher speed wireless service using fewer antennas.

    One company, which Vein declined to name, has proposed an advertising-supported plan for free wireless access, he said. That company appeared to be Google. A Google spokesman on Friday had confirmed that its Wi-Fi access proposal could be funded through online advertising.

    City officials said other companies submitting business proposals for the municipal wireless access project included a mix of network equipment suppliers, wireless service providers, local start-ups and community wireless projects.

    Potential bidders include Sweden's Ericsson, Motorola Inc., Canada's Nortel, Extreme Networks Inc. and two fixed wireless suppliers, Israel's Alvarion Ltd. and WiLine of San Francisco.

    Other names on the list were GigaBeam, Symbol Technologies Inc., SkyTel, the old pager unit of MCI, which is due to be acquired by phone company Verizon Communications.
     
    #1 -   Oct 4, 2005

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  2. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    "It is to me a fundamental right to have access universally to information"

    I love it when people try to sound smart and end up sounding like morons.

    I don't see why WiFi should be any more of a "right" than dial up or broadband like cable or DSL...
     
    #2 -   Oct 4, 2005
  3. MTB_Rob_NC

    MTB_Rob_NC What do I have to do to get you in this car TODAY?

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    I dont necessarily agree with how the guy is putting it but...

    Why do governments provide/fund libraries?
     
    #3 -   Oct 4, 2005
  4. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    I don't necessarily disagree with the "right to information" idea, but A) there's a lot more than library information on the 'net (government subsidized porn?), and B) why is WiFi more of a right than any other form of internet access?

    Most libraries already have internet access stations. They won't deliver books to your door, why should it be different for the internet? Go to the library and use their broadband if you need information. If he wants to throw money at something, throw some money at libraries to improve their computers and internet connections.
     
    #4 -   Oct 4, 2005
  5. MTB_Rob_NC

    MTB_Rob_NC What do I have to do to get you in this car TODAY?

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    It is interesting for sure. I mean really with a city the size of SanFran, if the gov't could cover the city with adequate resources for 8m-16m. That is really not that much. I have to imagine the cost/benefit relationship would certainly be there for the city/govt to get involved.

    I have a friend that is currently in IT for FPL (Florida Power and Light), the local Utility co that provides power for a good majority of the state. On our last road trip (Florida takes FOREVER to get out of). He was explaining that we could (with his "help") log onto the FPL wifi network and have coverage for most of the drive through FL.

    If the technology is already there (or close), why not make it available for everyone?

    Yes I am aware I am being VERY broad, as the specifics of how this all works is way beyond my comprehension.
     
    #5 -   Oct 4, 2005
  6. binary visions

    binary visions The voice of reason

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    I agree with the basic premise, as widespread, free Wi-Fi is inevitable since it's fairly cheap, all things considered, and the internet is fast becoming a necessity of life. Hell, several places where I have job applications in won't even accept paper OR in-person (i.e. at a computer kiosk) applications, they just tell you to go home and log onto their website. I just thought the way it was put was silly. If you can bring the technology because it's there and it's cheap, say so, don't try and pass it off as some human rights issue.

    The technology is certainly there. I just hope the government doesn't do anything stupid like rope themselves into an old standard (even 802.11g isn't that fast). As long as they leave the network open for upgradability, things will be good.

    This has been talked about for a long time before this guy, incidentally.
     
    #6 -   Oct 4, 2005
  7. LordOpie

    LordOpie MOTHER HEN

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    I <3 Libraries!
     
    #7 -   Oct 4, 2005
  8. N8 v2.0

    N8 v2.0 Not the sharpest tool in the shed

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    #8 -   Oct 4, 2005
  9. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    NORCAL is the hizzle
    If you live in SF you know that everyone has a fundamental right to be hit with a barrage of annoying advertisements whenever using a public service, especially those that are slow, unreliable, and not secure. Like public transportation and, I suspect, free internet access.

    Whoever wins the bid is going to have to do it for free, and probably hand out a bunch of kickbacks, but the cost will pale in comparison to how much they are going to make selling advertisements and propoganda. Yay!
     
    #9 -   Oct 4, 2005
  10. TN

    TN Hey baby, want a hot dog?

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    what does this mean?


    libraries are where homeless people go to crap.
     
  11. OGRipper

    OGRipper Turbo Monkey

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    NORCAL is the hizzle
    I am less than three libraries?
     
  12. SkaredShtles

    SkaredShtles I love NEWCASTLE and will ONLY drink NEWCASTLE!!!!

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    City folks are funny.... :D
     
  13. Changleen

    Changleen Paranoid Member

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    Great Idea. Should be more stuff like this.