Thoughts, information and reflections about technology

The failure of Philadelphia’s “Free Wireless” project

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Back in 2007, I posted about Philadelphia’s Wireless Internet Project. The idea was to make Philadelphia a wireless paradise with wireless for everyone.

Well, I guess Philly had more important things to do like institute a Soda Tax. er.. “Sugary Drinks Tax” which included diet soda.

With thinking like that, it is no wonder something as complex as a wireless infrastructure failed.

Technical Philly summed up the Philadelphia Wireless project with What other cities should learn from Philly’s failed municipal broadband effort

The Philadelphia Wireless initiative was a trailblazing municipal broadband effort in August 2004.

Verizon began to lobby Pennsylvania for restrictions on municipal broadband projects. Government run and subsidized internet access would be in competition with internet providers.   Under the Obama administration, the FCC was assisting municipalities in circumventing state laws.

A subset of the stimulus included the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program, aimed at bridging the digital divide by offering impoverished areas funding for municipal broadband ventures.

Philadelphia was one of the first major cities to attempt to provide broadband access for the poor and digitally illiterate and received a combined $18.1 million in federal funding.

The FCC’s recent (2015) vote will cause undeniable tension between ISPs and local governments, which could quickly become competitors.

Last Thursday, the Federal Communications Commission mirrored statements made by President Barack Obama on net neutrality by voting to “reclassify” internet access as a public utility.

In short, I just don’t see government run internet as being successful. Technology moves too quickly for a bloated bureaucracy to keep up.

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