FCC plan for ‘free,’ nationwide Wi-Fi is not so free

Recently the Federal Communications Commission rolled out a plan to create a “free” nationwide wireless Internet network.

The Wi-Fi network would offer broadband quality Internet for free in virtually every major metropolitan area and many rural neighborhoods. Many technical issues are raised. Local television stations would be forced to sell parts of the spectrum that they own in an eminent domain-style takeover. The new networks could also interfere with television and cell phone signals.

Unfortunately for proponents of this “free” Internet, “there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch,” as Milton Friedman often said. Nationwide wireless networks do not magically pop up out of thin air. They require vast man-hours and resources to plan and develop.

Who would pay for a nationwide Wi-Fi network being put together by the FCC? If you guessed “taxpayers,” you’d be correct. Actually, the government would probably just borrow money instead of raising taxes, because it’s not like our national debt is much of a problem anyways.

More concerning than who would foot the bill for this project is what it would do to innovation in the telecommunications sector. With the federal government providing a basic level of broadband that is “good enough” for many consumer for free, what incentive would there be for service providers to invest in networks that are faster and cheaper? With a large segment of the market disinterested in private sector offerings, superfast broadband would have a much smaller pool of potential consumers and would thus reduce the incentives for such investments.

Furthermore, it is ludicrous that liberals will decry the federal government for spying on citizens one day, and then turn around and applaud it for building a nationwide network of Wi-Fi hotspots. What could possibly make it easier for the federal government to engage in warrantless surveillance of electronic communication than by running the very network through which those communications pass?

A nationwide super Wi-Fi network sounds great, but when you deal with the realities of who would pay for it, and what it would do to innovation and security on the Internet, it comes across as a bad deal for America. Internet service certainly is something that the market can provide with limited government intervention. Policies should focus on increasing competition rather than having the government provide the service.

Comments

Comments

  1. Roger Mitchell says:

    I just made a comment on this just the other day FREE! yes only people on welfare get anything for free and I guess they will be entitled for fee laptops to access the network or bigger better Smart Phones or Pads ? FREE yes right Just like the better nd improved health care ..
    All this is about if to make it easier for the federal Gov. to track and control the Internet and Obama loves the U.N and they want to control and rape this country as it is now.. They want to tax and control the Internet and are the main driving force behind the new gun control mess.. As they printed back in 1961 or so in a free and polite society we should not allow this or that as they are not needed ! People better wake up to many in the cart now and too few people pulling the cart..

  2. Susan kovacs says:

    Part of BHO liberal demonrat socialist machine destroying America.

  3. harder says:

    OK I do not think this would be bad what would make Verizon and others make better faster internet the fact that it is free in its self would push them to make better faster cheaper internet connections to stay in the market just because something is free doesn’t make paying for something better more stable more safe from hackers less appealing this would be good for schools for if you find yourself out of range of the limited cell coverage lost or in trouble. It would be nice for when you are away from home but I think more people than not will want more from there home internet. As far as government control this can happen if its free or not they are always trying to find new ways to take away rights that is where we the people should stand up for yourselves picket complain boccot go to your state House make blogs make noise to stop what u don’t like if enough people complain and make a stink about something in not to look bad they tend to make the right call or the appearance anyway. But I for one don’t think free internet will kill paid internet they will just have to offer more instead of settling just to give u crap and have a monopoly and say this is what u get and like it. Let’s face it as far as high speed gose u have your cable and cell phones and that’s it if u are lucky in most of america DSL isn’t a real option and it would force these company’s to expand and offer better sevice

    1. Roger Mitchell says:

      Only reason you do not see DSL or other options out in the far country is there is no profit involved , Thats what business do make money , The Federal Gov looses and spends money every time they have a great idea its a waste of money and time and cost every tax payer in the end and a hell of a lot more money then a private company would get the job done for . All the feds would do is put the money into some companies hands and they would waste it of move overseas look at all the solar panel companies that went belly up and the other money wasted on Green jobs , Hell I recall what happened to a simple toilet after the Feds mandated that we could only have 1.6 gals to flush with .. Toilets did not flush and instead of flushing once with 3.5 gals we flushed 4 or 5 time with 1.6 gallons . The federal Gov does not need to be in th WiFi business if they do that will be another entire administration with a Huge new billion dollar building 5,000 people 15 top dept heads and a operating budget of 100 million the 1st yr then that like the EPA DEA FCC HLS IRS FBI CIA and the new IRS/Medical insurance will always be increased up wards yearly for ever.. The Feds are the single largest ill ran and still operating corporation this world has ever known.. I’m a pure capitalist not a scaliest..
      No let me suggest too you what I feel this move is all about Its a ploy to impress younger people who feel they can’t walk an entire block with out texting and they will love it and vote socialist/democratic peoples party of America . next Obama will want to pay off all of their school loans and then more free everything for everyone..

      But the bottom line is I have never in my life ever witnessed anything being improved with Federal Gov. intervention and know what they did to my field of business of 45 yrs and what they mandate to increase my overhead and the customers bottom line over 100% in 15 yrs .. A bid I could have done in 1999 for $5,000.00 would now or does now cost $9,000.00 and I sent it right on to Harry Homeowner..

  4. jonathan wint says:

    The pricing on wifi getting out of hand, the Telecommunication Giants Have setup a sort of truce wear no one dose real unlimited for under 70 dollars. Thing is thats a Fair-trade Violation , to artificially agree to keep prices high. And those digital bandwidths there using (you know the ones we had to trade in are analog TVs for? There Public Domain Not real property of Companies and private persons. Sorry they belong to every one there merely licensed to telecommunications and the rest of the world uses Power lines for there Internet Power ISPs, The USA is not doing innovations precisely bc Networks are charging outrageous prices. Again on bandwidth Frequencies that belong to the public. There supposed to make a prophet with there service but when that service becomes a hard ship on the public its time to change.

  5. Roger Mitchell says:

    Yes well FDR who I think was one of the biggest SOB’s to ever hold that office set up the communications act of 1934 and made it so their overhead was to be funded from the fees the FCC could impose at will they did and thats when we lost the airwaves to Fed. Control . they are protection you .. Like I said any damn thing the feds put their hands to as for to control or keep cost down well you know its going to tax you at every turn now the FCC averages a budget of 350 million a yr..
    But in 1995 I think it was Bill Clinton updated that 1934 act to become more far reaching and expensive . Here is a single paragraph of Clinton’s plan
    (The FCC is to make available so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication services with adequate facilities at reasonable charges.” The Act furthermore provides that the FCC was created “for the purpose of the national defense” and “for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications.)
    But once the feds gain control 3 things have to happen
    1st. efficiency goes out the window and inefficiency flies in the window
    2nd reliability goes to hell in the hand basket
    3rd the cost of doing business goes sky high and then
    4th the taxes to use it there is always taxes on anything at any level of Gov that they can smell for a profit or revenue increase..
    Competition among the providers and less regulations are what drive prices . The Feds are taxing all Corporations to the point now that they have stopped expansion or R&D and they just pass the taxes and cost of business on to the customer the end user ..
    I think the cost have come way down myself I recall paying 8,400.00 in 1883 dollars to buy two Motorola walkie talkie looking phones and then 3.80 a min to call someone.. and in 82 I would pay about 250.00300.00 a month for my usage of my phone for business . I wish 70.00 would have paid my bills then.

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