Free WiFi? Think again.

Orlando has its Downtown Wireless District, but Florida lawmakers are working to keep their real constituents happy. Of course, I don’t mean us! I mean the guys that line their campaign coffers, silly.

Orlando Sentinel: Cities, Internet giants fight over wireless turf

Cyber-savvy cities across Central Florida are eager to bring wireless Internet to the masses. From Port Orange to St. Cloud, wi-fi is seen as a vital service, like electricity or the telephone. And city officials want to be the ones providing it to their residents. But three bills working their way through the Florida Legislature would effectively block local governments from fulfilling their cyber mission.

Backed by telecommunications heavyweights including Verizon Communications Inc. and Bright House Networks, the House and Senate bills aim to keep cities from launching wireless networks. They also would stop those that already offer it, such as Orlando and St. Cloud, from expanding the service further.

One quote from the article that sticks out is how we need to go forward with projects like these only if the big telcom companies say it’s ok. WTF??? Look, I can see where businesses ought to make a buck if they can, but where the hell do they get off? Are Borders and Barnes & Noble going to shut down the libraries as being anti-competitive, now? Puh-leeze.

2 Comments so far

  1. Jeff (unregistered) on April 21st, 2005 @ 3:58 pm

    What’s the status of the wi-fi plan? I hope the city knows what they are doing. Check out the quote from this guy who apparently revolutionized the cell phone:

  2. Chris (unregistered) on May 23rd, 2005 @ 11:10 am

    I feel that it is important to point out an issue that most of these types of posts fail to recognize…franchise agreements. Municipalities negotiate franchise agreements with service providers…MSOs, Telcos, etc., for the purpose of securing rate stability. The argument that the incumbents are making is that the Muni should not be allowed to turn around and compete with those that they have entered into franchise agreements with…a conflict of interest.

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