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Colorado May Allow Cities To Provide Wifi 311

Posted by Zonk
from the politics-for-the-war-drivers dept.
miguelitof writes "According to the TheDenverChannel.com, Colorado cities may soon be able to provide wireless internet service to their citizens. The state Senate will vote today (April 5th) on Colorado Senate Bill 152, which would allow cities to provide wireless internet access. The only proviso would be that cities would have to get approval from voters to use tax dollars. The cost to provide internet access to a 16 square mile area is about $600k. A city could charge as little as $16 a month and cover expenses."
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Colorado May Allow Cities To Provide Wifi

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  • I live in colorado (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:01PM (#12145573)
    And since I had to pay for their stupid stadium that I didn't want, now they can pay for my useful wireless internet access which they may or may not want.

    • Heck yeah (although I wasn't specifically against the stadium). If nothing else this should drive down the costs of cable and DSL.
      • If nothing else this should drive down the costs of cable and DSL.

        Or price them out of the market? OK, prob. not since most of them have other business in the area (phone, cable, etc.) but the costs could just as easily go up (broadband as luxury item.)

        • More likely would probably kill some of the other local wireless providers. Can't see cable and DSL going up because of it. At least where I live, Comcast has spent a significant amount of money creating it's network and upgrade it's image. It's not going to lose market share to local wireless without a fight. I'm not suggesting it would drop to anywhere near the $16 range, but I'm paying almost $60/month now. I think the cable company has a lot of room to adjust their pricing.
    • ...since I had to pay for their stupid stadium that I didn't want

      yes, but a stadium is useful. what possible use could city-wide wireless networking provide? How are you going to get a hot-dog and a $20 dollar beer out of it?
    • "Jeff Dunn, a spokesman for Qwest, which provides high-speed Internet service, said his company is not worried about competition. He said consumers are more concerned about service, especially when their Internet connection stops working in the middle of the night."

      Really? If Qwest thinks I would suffer worse service under any alternate provider they are seriously delirious. Great job guys, you certainly have my vote :)
    • First off, which stadium? Only those in the denver region are taxed for the diaghram or Coors.

      As to the wireless internet access, the state is targeting small areas. Rifle is a good example. They now do wifi because nobody else would. Wifi is a good way to get moderate bandwidth to homes/businesses in a cost effective fashion due to the distances between homes that are outside of metropolitians
    • by WaxParadigm (311909) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @04:16PM (#12147064)
      I have a couple criteria in determining if something should be provided by the government (i.e. you should be taxed to pay for it). To be justified, it must get a "yes" for both of the following questions.

      1. Is it providing something that cannot be feasibly provided by the private sector?

      I live in Colorado (just outside Fort Collins) and have friends (in Windsor) who use a private wireless ISP. My laptop in my office can see the APs for another wireless ISP (I use cable and also have the choice of DSL from several providers). There is also a local wireless COOP that can service anyone within a 12-25-mile radius (line of site) of Horsetooth Rock. I can think of 10 places in town where I can get free WIFI and several others where I can pay a couple bucks to use their connected computer (i.e. for those who can't afford computers).

      I know people outside of Colorado Springs, on 5-acre lots (so not a density you'd think is attractive to ISPs). They have access to a wireless ISP and a Cable ISP...and there are a couple DSL providers who think they can service them despite the long phone lines.

      I have a friend in **Brush** and even he has high-speed Internet.

      2. Is it important enough that the funding of it should be enforced by law/force (should people be thrown in jail and have their assets forfeited for not funding it)?

      The first question already disqualified this for me, but it fails this question as well. High-speed Internet is nice, but most people can get it anyway. Those who cannot can visit a local coffee house for a couple bucks, or use dial-up.

      Given that we've gotten a "NO" for both of these questions this is not a reasonable place for the government to provide services in.
  • by phaetonic (621542) * on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:02PM (#12145584)
    With a population of 37,500 sharing a 802.11g connection, I'd hate to think what kind of latency would occur with BitTorrent and gaming...
    • I didn't see where it said 802.11 was the technology there were considering, though it is a possibility. I personally would rather see 802.16 (WiMax). It has a greater distance and more bandwidth. If a city were to build something like this and bring in business to help offset the costs, a wonderful, high speed network could be created with little or no ongoing costs to the public.
    • by melted (227442) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:20PM (#12145760) Homepage
      You could use 3 channels in a grid pattern and place access points so that APs using the same channel cause no interference to each other. Then, you could use some hardcore APs which provide QOS to wireless clients, so if you're running bittorrent, you get 128K download rate, whereas someone just browsing the web would get the rest of the bandwidth. It's all technical problems that can be solved.
      • It's all technical problems that can be solved.

        For how much more $$$? I'm not sure where the originator came up with the 600k number, but at the pace of technology change two questions come up right away:

        1. What is the cost of making the ongoing technical changes to the network to keep up (including monitoring to see what folks are using and paid staff to understand what these new emerging technologies are, etc. etc.)
        2. Do you think a government sponsored or government run program will be able to be as respo
        • 1. If you use a queueing technology responsibly then the system will be very tolerant. For example you can give 100% of the available bandwidth to a single user, and as more users get packets, it will scale to divide the traffic evenly between every IP address. This is possible with little more than the linux kernel, for example, and some userspace configuration tools.

          Given the simplicity of an individual node, I don't see why a government-run program couldn't react quickly, provided they used commodity h

  • On the surface... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScooterBill (599835) * on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:04PM (#12145595)
    it sounds like a great idea. However, local governments don't have the same incentives to provide good service at low cost. I would hope that this would still allow private companies to compete.

    Long term, it would be nice to have high speed wireless access everywhere and have this be a public services paid for through taxes. Similar to public restrooms, drinking fountains, parks, etc.
    • Long term, it would be nice to have high speed wireless access everywhere and have this be a public services paid for through taxes. Similar to public restrooms, drinking fountains, parks, etc.

      Yes, except you don't need a relatively expensive device to access public restrooms, parks, and so on. Providing wifi only benefits those who can afford laptops or similar devices, which means the middle class and up.

      Free wifi sounds nice, but like any luxury it should be left to the private sector, who will proba
      • " the private sector, who will probably do a better job over the long term -- at a guaranteed cost of zero to taxpayers"

        and how many tax breaks, rezoning exemptions, eminent domain actions and anti-competitive laws will it take to provide this "zero cost" service?

        Also, relatively expensive is well...relative. Television and phones were expensive at one time. Now you can buy a decent wi-fi equiped laptop for under a thousand bucks and a wi-fi equipped PDA for a few hundred. They are becoming a commodity
      • Yes, except you don't need a relatively expensive device to access public restrooms, parks, and so on. Providing wifi only benefits those who can afford laptops or similar devices, which means the middle class and up.

        However, you do need a relatively expensive device, plus relatively expensive insurance, to access most public roads, rest stops, and so on..
    • The problem is that there is not enough competition on the real marketplace for the existing companies to give good customer service.

      I believe governmental entrance into this market will have the effect of raising the bar for everybody.

      In effect, everybody wins!
    • However, local governments don't have the same incentives to provide good service at low cost.

      OK, *you* volunteer to answer the phones at your city councilperson's office the next time a router goes down.

      I would hope that this would still allow private companies to compete.

      I don't see why not. But I also don't see that the private companies who own the most extensive already-established last-mile networks (and, sometimes, the content distributed over those networks too!) have the right incentives ei

    • I hope that the WiFi service ... ... is better then the public restrooms that I find in parks ;)
  • by ShaniaTwain (197446) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:04PM (#12145597) Homepage
    Public tax dollars should NEVER go to provide useful services to the people. Sounds suspiciously like communism to me. What about the poor companies? Its a slippery slope people, next thing you know the government will be picking up garbage and paving streets! Stop it now before its too late!
    • Garbage collection and street repair is often subconracted. I have no problem with cities providing free wi-fi if hey subcontract the work out. However, I do have a problem with government running or becoming a business entity, especially when tax dollars are used.
    • by ShatteredDream (636520) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:15PM (#12145699) Homepage
      of what happens when the government locks out private competition and runs its own service. It costs $0.37 to send a single letter and by law, UPS and Fedex cannot send first class mail. So what that means is that you have to pay more for a service the government provides because it doesn't give you a choice. It's either the government's service or no service at all.

      Where I live in Virginia, you can get free or low cost WiFi in any of the coffee shops, and eventually other places will no doubt start providing it. I don't want my local government providing socialized WiFi in my area because local governments are notorious for being inept at spending control and quality of service. I'd rather pay adelphia for my access, have a wireless router on the connection and be able to go to a coffee shop and get free when I'm out and about. Barnes & Nobles' starbucks cafe charges $4.00 for 2 hours, but it's a good quality of service.

      Next thing you know, though, it won't be the government picking up trash, but government telling you that you cannot compete with it. That's the way it works. There is nothing that pissess off government bureaucrats than the idea that the citizenry can go elsewhere and completely ignore them.

      Oh and add in the fact that government-run Wifi will probably be completely open to law enforcement since it's a government service, not a private service. Watch the local cops argue that since it is a government utility, they don't need a warrant to log every action you take and periodically scan through them for criminal violations. That's one thing you really don't ever have to worry about the private sector allowing.
      • It costs $0.37 to send a single letter and by law, UPS and Fedex cannot send first class mail. So what that means is that you have to pay more for a service the government provides because it doesn't give you a choice. It's either the government's service or no service at all.

        The U.S. also has the cheapest, fastest, and most reliable post service in the world by most accounts, and this will still be true/would still be true today if postage were fifty cents. If the USPS is an example of what happens w

      • The other thing that everybody's forgetting is that it would be very easy for $GROUP_YOU_HATE to eventually lobby and/or bully your government into censoring that Wi-Fi conneciton which you are not forever locked in to paying for.

        After all, we need to stop piracy and protect children from all those bad pictures. You're not for piracy and against children, are you Mister Councilman?

        I guaran-damn-tee you that the moment the government has an ISP monopoly, somebody is going to decide that it's their place
      • How can you say that the United States Post Office is a government monopoly? [usps.com]

        I'm inclined to agree that there's little reason to leave the Post Office in the hands of government. On the other hand, I'm skeptical of the claim that privatizing would immediately lead to increased efficiency. More likely, it would simply replace a government monopoly with a private oligopoly.

        Only two plans make sense to me: either the USPS is sold in its entirety to a single private organization, or it's divvied up amon
      • Worse than that (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jimbro2k (800351)
        I used to work at UPS (in the accounting office). At that time, and probably still, UPS and FedEx were required to have their rates (within the US, at least) approved by the U.S. Postal Service, which kept those rates artificially high.
        Not, I think, that UPS or FedEx ever object too much to that.
        If the Federal government were not orchistrating this scheme, it would be an illegal trust (cartel?).
      • It costs $0.37 to send a single letter

        Horrors!

        and by law, UPS and Fedex cannot send first class mail. So what that means is that you have to pay more for a service the government provides because it doesn't give you a choice. It's either the government's service or no service at all.

        So what? All I want is a cheap, reliable service. Looks like I've got that....

        --Bruce Fields

  • $16 / month? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheFlyingGoat (161967) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:08PM (#12145626) Homepage Journal
    I live in Milwaukee, which is approximately 16 square miles. Within that 16 square mile area, there are around 600,000 residents (talking City of Milwaukee, not the metro area). If the cost to provide wireless runs $600K/month, that comes to $1/citizen/month. Even if you guess that it would cost 10 times as much (given the way our local government works ;), that's still only $10/month. Where is that $16/m figure coming from?
    • Re:$16 / month? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Telastyn (206146)
      A lower population density. Most likely due to the more uneven terrain in colorado, as compared to wisconsin.
      • Re:$16 / month? (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheFlyingGoat (161967)
        Twice the population density in Milwaukee vs Denver:

        http://www.internest.com/city/milwaukeewi.asp [internest.com]
        http://www.internest.com/city/denverco.asp [internest.com]

        So Denver would be $2/person. I actually think the population density of the states would be similar, given the fact that the upper half of Wisconsin is very midly populated (it's all forest) and the lower half just has a few bigger cities (Milwaukee, Madison) with the rest being farmland and glacial land.
        • I don't know where you learned math but according to the stats you linked to for Denver:

          3,700 people/sq mi X 16 sq mi = 59200 people

          $600,000 / 59200 people = $10.14 / person

          Not $1 or $2. Allowing for the fact that not everyone will sign up (such as children) and some people will share a connection and $16 is pretty reasonable.
    • And you are going to force every citizen to pay for it? That includes small children, people who get there service other ways, etc. In addition, I wouldn't be so sure what that 600k/month figure actually means.
    • Where is that $16/m figure coming from?

      I dunno, but it's not from the $600K. The submitter failed to mention that the $600K figure is the setup cost and has nothing to do with the monthly cost of providing the service.

    • Re:$16 / month? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by boster (124383)
      And don't forget that if these cities mirror most American large and medium sized cities, then many, if not most, users will be people who don't live in the WiFi zone or even in the city. Most users will be people who work or are doing business downtown.

      I'm all for "free" WiFi for areas like this, but charging only those who live in that zone is not the way to go. It indirectly benefits the whole metro area. Widen the tax base and then you only charge pennies a month. Obviously, if there are only geog

  • Wi-fi Vs Mesh (Score:3, Interesting)

    by earthstar (748263) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:09PM (#12145636) Journal
    So still wifi is being provided in latest rollouts of wireless interent?

    Whatever happened to the concept of Mesh Networks , that sprovide high speed higher security Internet that was seen as a bettet alternative to WiFI ?

    Infact I read in SPECTRUM that it has already been implemented in Vegas.

    • When provided with a standard for a mesh that works across multiple platforms, and a low-power platform that allows me to be a mesh node for less than $100 (and the software for, say, linux is totally free/Free) then I will make my home server a mesh node and put a mesh node in my car. The thing that will make it take off is if it's really cheap. Having a mesh node in my car would let me have a single point for communications from the vehicle. I've been procrastinating on the subject of finally installing a
  • by scovetta (632629) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:11PM (#12145662) Homepage
    A city could charge as little as $16 a month and cover expenses.

    Wouldn't that depend on the size of the city and how many people would actually want to pay $16/month?

    Or did they mean, $16/month total, for everyone?</not-really-a-serious-question>
    • When you get a large group together, you can get services for pennies on the dollar.

      This is no different to me than a university buying a HUGE satelite dish and buying cable programming directly from vendors. When I was in student government, we voted on what channels we wanted to buy. I remember cnn was something like $0.02 per person, sci-fi was a dime, we even got HBO for a dollar a person. All the others, TBS and MTV and USAnetwork were all under a dime each, some under a nickle. The whole budget of

  • And I want it in UK!
  • by popo (107611) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:13PM (#12145686) Homepage

    It should also be noted that free wifi has an immediate upshot of mass conversion to VOIP.

    Adding to that: Wifi handhelds are around the corner -- which means that cellphone (and landline) carriers have a lot to worry about.

  • Allow Cities? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Valiss (463641) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:19PM (#12145743) Homepage
    ...which would allow cities to provide wireless internet access.

    This makes it sound like it is currently illegal to do this. Is it illegal in Colorado to have a city set up a wireless network?
    • but some companies are trying to make it so. Yet, they do not wish to offer wifi to places like Rifle or say west of pueblo.
    • Re:Allow Cities? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Chyeld (713439) <chyeldNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @03:03PM (#12146211)
      It's illegal in most places for municipalities to provide comercial services unless those services are considered of essential public value and not suitable for comercial involvement. That's why most utility companies are run by companies who purchase a contract from the company rather than the company itself.
    • .which would allow cities to provide wireless internet access.

      This makes it sound like it is currently illegal to do this. Is it illegal in Colorado to have a city set up a wireless network?

      In most (all?) states, it's illegal for the state/city/county goverments to set themselves up in competition with the private sector.
  • by pauljlucas (529435) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:19PM (#12145749) Homepage Journal
    Why are many cities so interested in providing free/cheap WiFi access? Telephones and cable TV have been around much longer and you don't see cities rushing to provide free land-line phones or cable TV.

    I personally don't want any of my tax dollars used to fund any free/cheap technological service to anybody. Cities should just stick to funding the police, fire, water, and grounds maintenance, i.e., the traditional stuff cities are supposed to fund.

    • Why are many cities so interested in providing free/cheap WiFi access? Telephones and cable TV have been around much longer and you don't see cities rushing to provide free land-line phones or cable TV.

      Because it takes a lot more time, money, and manpower to dig holes, run cable, and string wires for line based services (CATV and telephone) than it does for wireless based services such as Internet.
    • How do you define what a city should and should not provide for its citizens? Things that have been around the longest? Things that aren't technologically based? Police, fire, water, etc use a good deal of technology to perform their services. Is it really wrong for a city to want to provide services for its citizenry? Isn't that the purpose of government in the first place?

      Is it inherently fair or unfair for a city to subsidize the cost of trash collection? My family has payed a seperate service to pi

      • How do you define what a city should and should not provide for its citizens?

        Recreational/information services such as cable TV or internet access are not essential. Therefore, a city should not provide them. (Emergency 911 service is guaranteed through state law even if you don't otherwise have phone service.)

        Is it inherently fair or unfair for a city to subsidize the cost of trash collection? My family has payed a seperate service to pick up our trash for a decade while our taxes go towards subsid

    • I personally don't want any of my tax dollars used to fund any free/cheap technological service to anybody. Cities should just stick to funding the police, fire, water, and grounds maintenance, i.e., the traditional stuff cities are supposed to fund.
      Actually, almost none of those things are 'traditional'. Police, fire, and water in particular were only funded by municipalities (at least here in the US) in the 19th century.
    • One interesting thing to note is that the Founding Fathers felt that it was necessary for the Federal legislature "To establish Post Offices and post Roads", which at the time was the cutting-edge of communication. It appears that they did not trust the free market as much as some do today.
    • This Slashdot posting is actually misleading. The intent of the legislation is to CREATE obstacles that don't currently exist to PREVENT communities from creating any sort of broadband services by creating a number of extra citizen-approval hoops to jump through. This showed up in Slashdot about a month ago as a news item of many states simultaneously proposing legislation to create these road blocks.

      By wording this now in newspaper articles as "cities will now be able to offer Wifi if they first do X, Y,
  • by werewolf1031 (869837) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:19PM (#12145756)
    Car keys: Check.
    Cigarette lighter adapter: Check.

    Now, dammit, SOMEbody in this town has got to have that last episode of Battlestar Galactica...

  • My family has a cabin that's up a private road on the southern slope of Twin Sisters mountain, just outside Rocky Mountain National Park in Roosevelt National Forest. Technically the address is in Allenspark, a while south of Estes Park on the Peak to Peak, though we're a long hike over the highway and up the mountain from town.

    Our hillside association has had this WiFi thing come up a few times. Someone down in Allenspark proper has been encouraging the town to try to get some sort of WiFi arrangement go

  • www.chaska.net (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:22PM (#12145776)
    The city I live in is already establishing WiFi. The ISP involved made a deal with the local utilities and the city to use the municipal vehicals and stree/power poles already setup. In return, the city gets WiFi access for the police cars and some other benefits.
    They are only charging $15.99 a month, and it can be included right in the utilities bill.
    Speeds still leave a bit to be desired, as they didn't use one of the better technologies, but they are working on it. I've had speeds up to 900kbps on occasion, but average seems more like 3-400kbps.
    Oh, I can also loggin with just my wireless connection on the laptop and not need their router too, so I can go to the local coffee shops that don't have WiFi available. :)
  • Can someone explain why a law had to be created to allow this?
  • by hsmith (818216) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @02:32PM (#12145871)
    But how many government programs have been a success? They will mess this up, you can bet the farm on it. Governments made this mess in the first place by signing exclusive deals with only one provider and providing them with a monopoly. now look at what they are doing.

    this will end up a mess.
    • I can also as this:
      How many software projects are a success?
      Answer 1 in 10.

      I could draw this conclusion.
      Don't get into software.

      But when I compare the two statements ...
      I tend to believe that many projects just fail in general.
      It doesn't matter what category they're in.
  • Zonk is clueless.

    http://www.freepress.net/communityinternet/=CO [freepress.net]

    SB 152 was a POS legislation from the get-go, and many of us Coloradoans have been actively lobbying against it. State senator Jennifer Viega threw this gem together to pay back the telcos that financed her campaign. While the revised bill passed is better than the original, it's still bad news for municipal services.

    http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drmn/opinion/arti cle/0,1299,DRMN_38_3545616,00.html [rockymountainnews.com]

  • Using 1990 Census data [census.gov] I've put together a quick report [fantasticdamage.com] showing the monthly cost for wifi in over 350 metropolitan/population centers in the U.S. Note that I am assuming the $37,500/sqmi cost is constant and these figures rely on census data from fifteen years ago. Also, note the cost is per person, not per household.

    According to the estimates and data above, Jersey City residents could have wifi for $0.26 a month. Over 60 cities can do it for less than $5 per month, including Philadelphia, which is aiming
  • So, you're saying that the Colorado State legislature has to pass a law before the City government is allowed to do anything?

    Why do you bother with a City administration then?
  • What a hoot to scroll through this slashdot page and see all the whining and screeching from the conformists/police-Staters/libertarians/freemarket
    cultists!

    Don't worry, cultist--the analysis of this bill as posted by Zonk is wrong. Just see the post on this page by the Colorado leftist who points out that this bill instead outlaws muniWiFi.

    You may now return to your regularly scheduled whining/screeching, on some OTHER post...

  • Supposedly, the FCC can censor and fine because they are 'moderating' the public airwaves.

    What happens when the internet is a 'public' service? Will obscene/controversial/pr0n materials be subject to censorship and/or fining because they offend the public? (Like Stern, Bubba the Love Sponge, Janet's b00bie, etc?)

    In which case, I (and many internet users) would opt to *pay* for unfiltered/moderated internet access. So what's the point beside giving the government another entity to spend money on and mor
  • The state Senate will vote today (April 5th) on Colorado Senate Bill 152, which would allow cities to provide wireless internet access.

    So what, we should be down on our knees thanking them for allowing it? It's already allowed, unless there was prior legislation prohibiting it, in which case I'm not exactly going to pretend to be grateful. Last week at the Freedom to Connect [freedom-to-connect.net] meeting, Susan Crawford began her posted comments [blogware.com] with the following:

    A right to connect, or freedom to connect, signals tha

  • Muni Competition (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @03:35PM (#12146594) Homepage Journal
    The "High Tech Broadband Coalition" has published their "Policy Position on Municipal Broadband" [siliconinvestor.com]. Briefly, they support municipal efforts to ensure universal broadband access, even if the city has to provide broadband itself. Consisting of the BSA, CEA, NAM, SIA, ITI, and TLA, the position is important, if not completely surprising. But the TIA, which represents telcos who compete with these municipal efforts, is very surprising as a member of the coalition. TIA members are busy buying legislators to keep municipal competition out, while their trade org is promoting keeping city governments in. Are Mark Cuban's complaints about the RIAA misrepresenting his content corp starting to sound familiar?
  • I was thinking about the recent conflict between municipal and commercial Internet access providers. Government-owned Internet access that blankets an area, whether it be via wireless or fiber-optic cable or something equally useful, is a great thing to have from a property-values and quality-of-life standpoint (hence the city's motivation to build it). However, it obviously competes against commercial ISP's, which (rightfully) feel undercut by the government.

    How about this compromise:

    Government-owned ISP's focus on doing what they do best: building out infrastructure and reaching through the unprofitable "last mile" to get all customers -- not just the most desirable large corporations or dense urban populations -- hooked up. The purpose of this infrastructure would be to transparently pass packets through, acting as a pipe between their customers and the Internet.

    Commercial ISP's focus on providing content and configuring the network to deliver that content. IP address assignment (DHCP), provisioning of subnets, useful servers (email, web hosting, newsgroups), etc. would be handled by competing commercial ISP's. All the various levels and varieties of access found today would still be available: customers could choose to pay extra for a static IP, or certain premium content, or whatever else strikes their fancy. All of this content would be delivered via the municipal infrastructure! Both commercial and government play useful parts here.

    Do you think this compromise would actually work in practice? I'd love to see it given a chance somewhere....
  • by WaxParadigm (311909) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @04:11PM (#12147020)
    I have a couple criteria in determining if something should be provided by the government (i.e. you should be taxed to pay for it). To be justified, it must get a "yes" for both of the following questions.

    1. Is it providing something that cannot be feasibly provided by the private sector?

    I live in Colorado (just outside Fort Collins) and have friends (in Windsor) who use a private wireless ISP because they are out of range for DSL and cable. My laptop in my office can see the APs for another wireless ISP (I use cable and also have the choice of DSL from several providers). There is also a local wireless COOP that can service anyone within a 12-25-mile radius (line of site) of Horsetooth Rock. I can think of 10 places in town where I can get free WIFI and several others where I can pay a couple bucks to use their connected computer (i.e. for those who can't afford computers).

    2. Is it important enough that the funding of it should be enforced by law/force (should people be thrown in jail and have their assets forfeited for not funding it)?

    The first question already disqualified this for me, but it fails this question as well. High-speed Internet is nice, but most people can get it anyway. Those who cannot can visit a local coffee house for a couple bucks, or use dial-up.

    Given that we've gotten a "NO" for both of these questions this is not a reasonable place for the government to provide services in.
  • Stevenson near where I live set up a free wifi mesh [locustworld.com] with funding from the local chamber of commerce. I can easily believe that by putting this sort of stuff in you can increase property values by more than enough to warrent the investment. Folks that don't like this-well they can buy property in a city that doesn't provide taxpayer supported wifi. This stuff is for a city infrastructure just like free drinking fountains-or free sidewalks. Probably one of the best things a city can do to spur economic development.
  • by old_ranger (873655) on Tuesday April 05, 2005 @04:59PM (#12147650)
    and I'll tell you why. THis is QWEST and the CO Telecom Assoc. getting a bill passed that PREVENTS local gov from doing what they NEED to do when QWEST WONT DO IT! Fact is it has alays been legal for CO local govs to build their own infrastructure nd offer it to the public if they wanted to. NOW, if this bill gets passed, there will be unreasonable restrictions to that activity. Some IDIOT at assocaited press failed to research before publishing, and spn it to look ike the bill ALLOWS, when it really RESTRICTS. And, for all you snivelling ninnies that want to "keep gov out of telecom" let me tell you the TRUTH: YOU live in a CITY. WE live in the STICKS, and no major telecom will build the infrastructure to serve us, because they dont care about us, because the "subscriber density" is too low. This is a typical reaction from a bunch of know nothing metro geekamo elitists that have never considered what it must be like to live in a rural area and be underserved in all areas of service that are taken for granted in cities. Anyway, if you live in COlorado, CALL YOUR LEGISLATOR and tell him/her to vote NO on SB 05-152. If you live in another state, you'll get your chance because the telecom lobby is gunning for you too, to restrict your right to do what you want, in all states. HERE is TRUTH: http://www.ruralcolorado.org/index.php?option=cont ent&task=view&id=275&Itemid=2 [ruralcolorado.org] read it, know it, live it. Sincerely, Old Ranger in Colorado

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