"The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month." That's the utopian vision brought to us by the Washington Post, introducing the FCC's plan to bring free WiFi to the masses.
Naturally the wireless industry is not in favor of a plan that sounds likely to lose them paying customers. Major players from the $178 billion industry, including AT&T and Cisco, are lobbying against the proposal, which they claim could interfere with existing wireless signals or TV broadcasts.
Those favoring free WiFi say that it will spark an explosion of innovation, similar to when the government opened up a small segment of unlicensed airwaves in 1985, which led to the invention of baby monitors, garage door openers and wireless microphones. "Freeing up unlicensed spectrum is a vibrantly free-market approach that offers low barriers to entry to innovators developing the technologies of the future and benefits consumers," said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski.
The plan would provide free wireless access in virtually all cities and many rural areas. And the airwaves used would be much more powerful than ordinary WiFi, providing signal that could travel through concrete and land masses.
Via the Washington Post.