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Wireless Networking The Internet Hardware

Free WiFi Trend Continues 296

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the less-talk-more-action dept.
Palal writes "San Francisco is about to embark on a Free (or low cost) WiFi campaign with the mayor holding the reins, of course, in hopes of offering more low-income residents easier access to the Internet. Since San Francisco, unlike Philadelphia (previously covered on Slashdot for a similar project), is only 49 square miles, will this work here and can this be accomplished in a year as promised or is this just another political plot to get the Mayor re-elected?"
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Free WiFi Trend Continues

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  • Politics (Score:3, Funny)

    by kevin_conaway (585204) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:40AM (#13356026) Homepage
    Everything is politics. That you can be sure of.

    As far as it working, I don't see why it wouldn't be possible. How will it conflict with Googles offering [slashdot.org] in the area?
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:40AM (#13356027)
    So people can afford a $400 Dell cheapass PC, but can't spring for a $5 a month Internet dialup connection?
    Oh wait, I forgot that its the fault of the people on the 'have' side of the 'Digital Divide' that the other people can't get online. Our village is in shambles! I need a hug.
    • by Golias (176380) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:57AM (#13356180)
      When I saw the headline about the "Free WiFi trend", I foolishly assumed they were talking about actual free WiFi, like when a private resident or coffee shop opens up their 802.11g encryption so anybody in range is free to use it.

      Sadly, they are talking about pre-billed, manditory WiFi, in which residents of a city are forced by the state to fund a WiFi connection with their taxes, whether they have better alternatives available or not.

      Now it seems we need three different definitions for "Free":

      1. Free as in "speech"
      2. Free as in "beer"
      3. Free as in "pay for it or go to jail"
      • still not as bad as the mandatory recylcing program our county has. I have to pay for a service I have no intention of using 32.00 a year.
      • by oringo (848629) on Friday August 19, 2005 @12:06PM (#13356254)
        I would agree with you if the following things were true:

        1. Electricity is free
        2. Network bandwidth is free
        3. Network maintainance is free
        4. Network adminidstrators can live off air

        So yah, shove your idealistic freedom and face the reality. Plus, TFA never mentioned anything like $5 fee. All I read was that the city hasn't made any financial commitment yet to the $18-20 million cost.
      • 3. Free as in "pay for it or go to jail"

        Well it is San Fransisco after all.
      • by AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:13PM (#13356693)
        *sigh*
        [sarcasm]
        I know exactly what you mean. I hate all that mandatory, pre-billed bullshit the government forces me to buy. Roads, schools, scientific exploration, law and order... I wish we could just get a menu and order only the things that we personally are going to use...
        [/sarcasm]

        seriously though, if you've ever attended a public school, used a public library, driven on a public road, or used the fruits of Government Scientific research (velcro, the internet... etc), you might just want to reconsider your previous knee-jerk belly-aching about public funds being used to supply a public good. If the nature of what the government provided for the public good never adopted new technologies, we'd still be waiting on the pony express to deliver our mail.
        And yes, you have to pay for government, or go to jail. its called citizenship.

        "We're free to choose which hand our sex-monitoring chip is implanted in. And if we dont want to pay our taxes, Why... We're free to spend a weekend with the pain monster!"
        • Easy, cowboy.

          If you (via your elected representatives... not to mention "voting with your feet") feel that tax-funded Wi-Fi is worth it, then good luck with that. Just don't lie by calling it free, is all. That's all I was saying.
          • By that standard, there is no such thing as free. You pay in advertising budgets, inflation, environmental damage, time invested, or some other currency for every "free" item out there.
        • "public funds to supply a public good"

          There is a difference between saying "schools should be funded through the government" and "schools should exist and teach people things, even people who can't afford it".

          You are setting up a false dichotomy where supposedly the only way we could have the "public good" you mention is through government forcing people to pay for it in taxes, wasting 50% of the money and then providing the services, usually poorly and to most people's dissatisfaction. The only alternative
      • When I saw the headline about the "Free WiFi trend", I foolishly assumed they were talking about actual free WiFi, like when a [...] coffee shop opens up their 802.11g

        In that case you're paying for the wifi in increased coffee prices.

        Sadly, they are talking about pre-billed, manditory WiFi, in which residents of a city are forced by the state to fund a WiFi connection with their taxes

        Forced is a bit strong; the residents of the city voted for the mayor.


        Now it seems we need three different definitions for "F
        • When I saw the headline about the "Free WiFi trend", I foolishly assumed they were talking about actual free WiFi, like when a [...] coffee shop opens up their 802.11g

          In that case you're paying for the wifi in increased coffee prices.


          Cute that you put "..." in place of "private homes", and cut off the part about encryption removal.

          Park in front of a Dunn Bros. Coffee shop, or for that matter, in my driveway, and you are on the Internet for free. Free as in beer.

          Forced is a bit strong; the residents of the
      • by FreeUser (11483) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:36PM (#13356899)
        When I saw the headline about the "Free WiFi trend", I foolishly assumed they were talking about actual free WiFi, like when a private resident or coffee shop opens up their 802.11g encryption so anybody in range is free to use it.

        Sadly, they are talking about pre-billed, manditory WiFi, in which residents of a city are forced by the state to fund a WiFi connection with their taxes, whether they have better alternatives available or not.



        When I saw the sign "Freeway", I foolishly assumed they were talking about actual free Ways, like when a private residence or rancher builds a road through their property and opens it up so anyone passing through is free to use it.

        Sadly, they are talking about pre-billed, manditory Freeways, in which residence of a city (or state) are forced by the state to fund a FreeWay connection with their taxes, whether they have better alternatives available or not.

        Now it seems we need three different definitions of "Free":

        1. Free as in "speech"
        2. Free as in "beer"
        3. Free as in "pay for it or go to jail"


        Network infrastructure (as opposed to services like webhosting, etc.) is extremely analogous to the highway system, including the lack of economic growth and monopolism that arises when said infrastructure is privately owned (think of the last mile of copper, and the 98% unused fiber that results from the baby bell's local monopolies, for example). Much of the FCC's efforts are a (failing) effort to mitigate this fundamental problem through regulation. Competative markets only exist, and work, when the underlying infrastructure is publicly owned. If we had privately owned highways, no little startup would even be able to drive to work, much less ship a product (or even receive parts to build their product) using their competitor's highway system.

        San Francisco is doing exactly the right thing. There is a place for free market capitalism, and there is a place for public works. The Highway System, and Communications Infrastructure, are two examples of the latter.

        • Competative markets only exist, and work, when the underlying infrastructure is publicly owned. If we had privately owned highways, no little startup would even be able to drive to work, much less ship a product (or even receive parts to build their product) using their competitor's highway system.

          good point. The Internet's growth has been disappointing. When the gub'mint assumes control of the private internet infrastructure, then we'll see some amazing advances in network technology and capacity. And don'
    • by Joseph_V (908814) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:58AM (#13356184)
      Low income families normally get ahold of a second-hand computer for far less that $400, more on the order of $20-50. Pop in a wireless card for $20 and they have the capability to file taxes, read email, download sweet linux images, and browse pr0n with the best of us! (for under $50). That is only 2 months of the cheapest broadband you can get.
      • Low income families normally get ahold of a second-hand computer for far less that $400, more on the order of $20-50.

        I agree. Heck, that's what I do. I've bought a couple servers and several desktop computers for about that price, though the monitor was extra. Spare monitors can be had for $20 ea.
    • Low income residents can often get free or near free pcs that are donated. So yes, compared to free, $5 is expensive. It's also not wireless.
    • Where does it say anywhere that the "haves" are at fault? Maybe this is implied by the fact that their tax money will be used to build it. I don't think that implies fault, though.

      Is a $400 Dell the only option for low income families? No. Computers are available for much less. I've been the recipient of a free computers, and my income isn't even low.

      Is a dial-up connection the equivalent of a broadband wifi connection? No. Broadband is faster and doesn't tie up their phone line - assuming they have a
      • Re:Insightful? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous becuase it's not PC, but also it's true.

        I work in this field. sometimes.

        they have phone lines.

        they have cars, despite public transit within 2 blocks of their subsizized apartments or half-price homes (by comparison I have no car, despite public transit within 8 blocks of my apartment)

        and what infuriates me the most is that they have cable tv at 60-100/month

        make your own judgements. i have.

        they don't need subsidies or freebies. they need to decide what their priorities are, and then be left with th
        • Re:Insightful? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Skye16 (685048) on Friday August 19, 2005 @01:10PM (#13356672)
          I would tend to agree with you, but I've seen too many poor parents (my own among them) choose the unecessary (like mass quantities of drugs and alcohol) over the necessary (like clothes). Do you know what it's like to be getting a job at 10 years old just so you don't have to wear clothes from goodwill or handme downs? Have you ever eaten cereal from a sack without milk? I would hazard a guess and say "no".

          Without the "haves" subsidizing my food, my housing, my education (both normal K-12 AND college), I never would have broken the cycle. I would have ended up just like them.

          Is that a good thing? By some people's estimation, yes, because, while I was being provided for, there were 2 other people (my parents) who were abusing the system. They'd rather cut a kid like me off just to stop the worthless dregs of society than support those dregs and myself.

          Frankly, I'm glad they aren't the ones making the rules. Without that help, I probably wouldn't have finished highschool, much less gone through college, or even think about plans for pursuing my masters.

          I'll be the first to admit there are problems with welfare, subsidies, or other freebies. But without them, I'd probably be living in a run down trailer with two or three kids, a drug habit, empty 40's strewn all over the floor, a car up on blocks in my front yard and a job moving heavy things. Hooray for that.
    • So people can afford a $400 Dell cheapass PC, but can't spring for a $5 a month Internet dialup connection?

      Actually, certain organisations in Philadelphia give computers to the poor, but one of the main gripes was that the poor couldn't afford to do anything with them. Still the $5 dial up access is less than the $20 that Philly is going to offer for wireless, but if you take a look at the major ISP prices (Earthlink... AOL...) for dial up that it's about the same cost. Do you think the poor are going to hu
      • Have you ever gone outside center city/univ city in Philadelphia? There are Net Zero ads plastered EVERYWHERE. Not even official ads or billboards, but posters slathered all over the sides of decrepit buildings. It's almost eery, like a conspiracy about the Army of the NetZero Monkeys.

        Anyway, I find it rather strange that the first areas to get free wifi are areas where it doesn't benefit anyone but the rich/middle class (love park, the whole parkway soon?). But then again I can't imagine how free wifi
    • I wonder how this will work if Santorum's prohibition on the "gov't doing things private industry can do" thingie.
      All the resistance to this has come from the current broadband providers.
      I don't think the only issue is using your PC at home or at starbucks etc, I think that once we blanket the country with wifi- we will see nav and entertainment systems delivered to cars etc. by wifi.
      This is why I wouldn't buy sattelite radio stock- I think around the time they reach profitability, the country will be bl
    • by sterno (16320)
      Okay, so are there people who:

      1) Can afford a $400 Dell
      2) Can't afford Internet access
      3) CAN AFFORD TO LIVE IN SAN FRANCISCO

    • ...It's a good point, *IF* they have a phone line.

      Dunno about the 'States but in the UK and Canada you can't get a phone line without laying down a hefty deposit, in cases where the line has been disconnected for previous non-payment, or subscriber doesn't have permanent residency in the country.

    • The easiest way to foist an new entitlement on the taxpayers is to guilt them into accepting it.

      Its for the children, you wouldn't hurt/deprive/harm children would you?

      Its for the poor, you wouldn't hurt/deprive/harm the poor would you?

      Its for minorty-group-of-the-moment, you not a racist are you? (notice you must use the term racist as bigot which is the most appropriate definition doesn't cause enough cowering)

      Politics of Guilt is how they hide their re-election programs and get people to pay for it. It
  • Gotta Love Canada (Score:5, Informative)

    by Godboy_g (794101) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:40AM (#13356030)
    They should get local business to participate, they could share the cost, and make it more avilable to end users. That's what they do in my city. We've had free Wifi for over a year now, and they're constantly expanding the coverage. currently it's most of the city. See the following for details: http://www.fred-ezone.ca/index.php [fred-ezone.ca]
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah.. it is free until you are hooked.. Then they jack the prices up.
  • by coflow (519578) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:41AM (#13356036)
    This must be a joke. Last I read, the median income for an SF resident was $160,000. I guess this means SF is looking out for those who are unfortunate enough to only earn $125,000 per year?
  • too bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tont0r (868535)
    Too bad [slashdot.org] this didnt work here. And mostly because no one knew about the free service.As a resident of Orlando, I definitely didnt have a clue. I hope that in time it will be reconsidered. Too bad we canned this before it started catching on.
  • or is this just another political plot to get the Mayor re-elected?

    Isn't everything a mayor does a plot to get re-elected? I'll believe in altruism when he's paying for it out of his own pocket, rather than out of the taxpayer's.

    OTOH, this would sure reduce the incentive for War Driving. And I would like to know what this will do to existing networks.

    • Isn't it really the mayor's job, when you boil it down, to plot to get re-elected? That's really the only incentive that a mayor has, even one in it for altruistic purposes--more than one term gives them more time to make the world (or city) a better place.
      • In this particular case, it's probably not much of an incentive: Mayor Gavin Newsom has a sky-high approval rating. He will be elected over and over again.

        He handily beat the green party candidate in his first election, and it's only going to get easier. He married gay people, dammit. San Francisco loves him as much as we love puppies.
      • Isn't it really the mayor's job, when you boil it down, to plot to get re-elected? That's really the only incentive that a mayor has, even one in it for altruistic purposes--more than one term gives them more time to make the world (or city) a better place.

        What about presidents? I mean... Bush, right now... he *knows* he can't get re-elected (no more than 2 terms).

        What is his incentive to not be a total fuckup?

    • The guy who brought gay marriage to San Francisco needs free wifi to get re-elected?

      His fate has already been decided one way or the other.
    • plot to get re-elected?

      Probably not; Newsom is close to a lock anyway. Unless there is a kickback/corruption scandal associated with this project, it probably won't affect his support in any meaningful way. He probably just thinks its a good idea.

      The dude is really well liked in The City as it is.

      -dB

    • SF Mayor is naive and idealistic. I really do believe he is doing what he believes is right, and not for the politics. SF is a big city, but it's mayoral elections have a small town feel. Apparently *anyone* can get elected in that town.

      War Driving is illegal in California because you're not allowed to use your laptop while you drive. :)
  • How? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Antimatter3009 (886953) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:41AM (#13356040)
    I still don't understand how they're going to cover that much area using current technology. The signal just isn't good enough. The only way I can see this being possible is if they use WiMax or something like that.
  • Political plot? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tarp (95957) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:42AM (#13356041) Homepage
    I don't think the vast majority of the population cares enough about WiFi to vote for a particular candidate based on that. Yes, San Francisco has more techies per square mile than most American cities, but I'd wager that this isn't a political move. Promising better schools, better roads, public transportation, less crime... those are political moves. Free WiFi, feasible or not, is NOT going to win votes. Most of the computer geeks are too busy playing CS in their parent's basements to hit the polls anyway. (not a troll, but based on my actual observations!)

  • by setzman (541053) <`gro.tievomerdna ... ts' `ta' `namzts> on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:42AM (#13356044) Journal
    Do these low-income residents have PCs with wireless capabilities? Or does the SF government give them to the poor residents? Don't you think they have higher priorities than free WiFi, maybe food/shelter/clothing/etc?
    • From what I have heard, at least from our local politicians, this is a marketing ploy to show the world what how techno-cool your city is. Mayors tend to have these grandiose schemes that they feel will have people clamoring to get into their city. This extra publicity and talk may attract more tourists and businesses to the area, which ultimately boosts tax revenue. Not because they have free wifi, but because everyone is simply talking about City X.

      The poor rarely benefit from government programs. More of
    • There's a huge difference between "on the street poor" (which SF has a big problem with as well) and "working poor," who can pay for the basics, but not much else.

      Although, like everything else, this WiFi move is political, it also makes sense for San Fran. I think San Francisco sees internet connection as becoming another basic utility. San Francisco can provide this utility to their population for cheap, so why not?

      San Francisco and Silicon Valley do place a heavy emphasis on being tech savy. There

  • Don't be cynical (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ReformedExCon (897248) <reformed.excon@gmail.com> on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:45AM (#13356065)
    Whether or not a politician's actions are based on his desire to get re-elected, I think it is imperative that we support initiatives that are what we would like. In the long run, giving credit for a certain thing to a politician is just part of how history works.

    It's not the engineers who get the credit for bringing forth new technologies, it's the managers who do. So too do the politicians get credit for the work of their underlings. The main point is that the benefits are realized, not that someone who had a leadership role gets all the credit.

    So yeah, let's get San Francisco unwired up (is that the right way to say it?)! If it works there, at a reasonable cost, maybe we can get initiatives moving in other big cities. The internet is one of those utilities that ought to be available to anyone looking for it. Putting the government in charge of distribution may not be the best choice, but it is a quick fix until private enterprise can compete.
  • by AnonymousJackass (849899) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:45AM (#13356068)
    Here's what concerns me about this. Offering free wireless is going to cost money (obviously). Is this really how low-income families would like that money to be spent? Wouldn't they prefer cheaper health care? Better accomodation? Nicer schools? Nicer communities? Did someone actually poll these people and say "we've got $XXXX to spend on you guys -- what do you want?" and the low-income people say "ooh free-wireles would make our lives so much better!"

    I'm not trolling -- honest! I just wonder if this isn't, as the blurb suggests, more about PR for the mayor than actually helping people.
    • It blows my mind that US is complaining about the lack of finance available for lighting up the dark fibre underground.

      Then here we are, providing a free service. Isn't this another political stunt?!

    • I understand that it costs less to install a city-wide Wi-Fi network (one time fee) than it does to provide trashbags to the same city per year. While those are apples and oranges, you don't need to continuously redeploy the entire network every year. Wi-Fi, when done properly, is not a giant financial undertaking. I'd like to see more of this -- it is sensemaking!
    • San Francisco is a city with its fair share of problems. There is lots of economic disparity here. As other people have mentioned, you will not walk a block downtown without getting panhandled. The neighborhood I live in is fairly residential and yet there are still a couple of homeless people that park themselves in front of the local restaurants every evening.

      What's more, contrary to popular perception about the Bay Area's liberality, a lot of the larger-scale economic disparity divides along racial lines
  • Giving it away? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hshana (657854) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:45AM (#13356069)
    Usually when the big telcos/ISP's say that muni-wifi is anti-competitive, I tend to laugh. Why would SF need to do this as a city? NetZero already offers free internet access. Is that access not deemed sufficient or fast enough by the city? Do less affluent people really need to watch TV over their computers? One of the nice things about living in a major metropolitan area is that you can usually walk to the library or get there easily. I can see offering free access in the library, but to the whole city?
  • Covering 49 square miles in Iowa would be nice and easy. But San Francisco? The topography may present a challenge.
    • by rivvah (593732)
      This can't be stated enough -- we already have massive problems with cell coverage in this city, I can walk two blocks from my current location and go from 6 bars of signal to 0 bars, dead. All carriers, all areas, if it ain't flat it has problems.

      Two questions:

      - how is coverage in this hilly city going to be addressed?
      - how are you going to keep from stomping on existing networks (11 APs in range at work, 9 in range where I sit right now) like sflan?

      The idea is good, but it's going to have some serious hur
      • Ah, so what you are saying is the Free Market (TM)(R)(C 2005) that exists in wireless phone service has failed to provide you with good service? I'm shocked. Surely the slashbot libertarian parrots will be unable to appreciate the nuance of your situation.
  • by Suburbanpride (755823) on Friday August 19, 2005 @11:48AM (#13356091)
    San francisco is really a pretty small city, at least compared to some place like LA. Getting completle wireless coverage to the importnat areas ( downtown, the hisght, the filmore, noe valley, the castro.) wouldn't be to hard. although to get every inch of the city woudl be a bit more of a chalenge.

    It would certianly look good on a mayors resume to say that he provided the whole city with internet access, but for some reason I have a feeling that the people who would benefit most from this are the upper middle class who already have wireless enable commputers. I don't see this doing a lot for those who can't already aford access themsleves.

    • important areas (downtown, the haight, the fillmore, noe valley, the castro.)

      Nah. The "important areas" are SOMA, the Marina, Pacific Heights, China Basin (the new biotech area), Telegraph Hill/Union Square, and Fisherman's Wharf.

    • ...I have a feeling that the people who would benefit most from this are the upper middle class who already have wireless enable commputers.


      But those who can afford wireless-enabled computers already have internet connections. So, this benefits... Almost no one!

      Well, tourists. Tourists might be able to get something out of this. But we just wardrive anyways.
    • 1. "It would certianly look good on a mayors resume to say that he provided the whole city with internet access, but..."

      ...it would be patenly false. The mayor isn't giving anything. Taxpayers are.

      2. "the people who would benefit most from this are the upper middle class who already have wireless enable commputers. I don't see this doing a lot for those who can't already aford access themsleves."

      Hence defeating the original intent of the mayor's generosity.

      So what this really comes down to is a taxpayer

  • Free access (Score:2, Insightful)

    by matt me (850665)
    By free access, as before, we may soon discover that their 'full access to The Internet' is blocking every port but 80.
    • And blocking all outgoing connections to websites that aren't family friendly?

      How are you going to stop young kids seeing things they shouldn't if people in the streets can surf pr0n? Rely on personal responsibility? NEVER! :o
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Friday August 19, 2005 @12:10PM (#13356279) Homepage Journal
    All of these people are putting up free WiFi access with different levels of service. Some only allow web and mail, others are wide open and still others only provide custom content with no access to outside resources. Individually this is all fine and dandy. But, if WiFi is slated to be the "next internet" as a lot of people like to claim that it is, we need a lot more standardization than we have. Not to mention that there are a lot of people who are working very hard to try and stamp out these initiatives because it hurts or could hurt their businesses (telcos, cell phone providers, cable and satellite operators).

    It's nice to see the free hotspots popping up here and there, but other than checking mail and looking at some web content, how useful is it? Why isn't there a national or global cooperative that would define the services that hotspots should offer in order to create a truly national or global network that parallels the internet? How do we keep the telcos and their ilk from ruining this? It's not like they're going to die overnight because landlines are still going to be necessary for several reasons, with bandwidth and reliability being the most important.

    Keep the free WiFi coming, but really what does it all mean? It's not like this is becoming anything particularly useful yet.
  • Politeracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday August 19, 2005 @12:12PM (#13356293) Homepage Journal
    Oh, no, actually leveraging the critical mass of the city into a more economical and reliable public service isn't the way for a mayor to get reelected. No, that's just politics. Like publishing stories about a candidate's qualifications and record, right in the middle of the election, when everyone is paying attention, trying to decide who to vote for. Sleazy political ploys.

    No, reelections are legitimately based only on glowing recommendations from paid actors, speeches from pulpits subsidized with "faith-based initiaves", and strutting flight suits. That's our democracy: demediocracy.
  • politics? hah! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aggieben (620937) <aggiebenNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday August 19, 2005 @12:20PM (#13356357) Homepage Journal
    Don't kid yourself. While internet access is the lifeblood of any geek...

    geeks are a underwhelming minority of any general population, particularly among the uneducated (and one assumes that the uneducated largely have lower incomes than those who are educated and therefore concludes that low-income residents of a city would have an even smaller proportion of geeks than the city at large).

    Far, far more people are interested in how much in taxes they pay each year. Offering free wifi would certainly have an impact on those figures.

    How, then, does offering free wifi help him politically (other than for brownie points with an interest group here or there)?

    I don't know who the mayor is or what his ideological positions are, and I also don't care. I just thought I'd point out that ./ shouldn't make the mistake of thinking something is far more important than it really is.
    • San Franscisco is near Silicon Valley. Silicon Valley people sell technology. A big technology contract (hopefully to local technology companies) means big campaign donations (kickbacks) from said companies to the politicians responsible.

      It is not a way to get more votes directly, it is a way to get more money, and hence more votes.

      The big technology companies win because they get a big overpriced contract, the mayor wins because he get big campaign donations, and hey, low income people win, because everyon
  • by hypnagogue (700024) on Friday August 19, 2005 @12:43PM (#13356521)
    is this just another political plot to get the Mayor re-elected?
    Since when is acting on the will of the people as an democratically elected official a "plot"? The mayor is honor bound to execute the will of the people -- that's what representative democracy is. If he doesn't execute the will of the people, his tenure is terminated by popular vote.

    That's DEMOCRACY.

    Now, as to whether the electorate really ought to resort to taxation to provide broadband access to the masses -- that's a policy matter I leave to the people of the Great State of California.
  • "Any government money spent on technology regardless of cost or efficiency is better than it not spending the money on technology." -Me

    Why is this? Because Technology is the only thing that makes humanity more than animals than living in caves (well there is the whole language and knowledge thing we have built up of a few thousand years, but this is actually amplified by technology).

    The truth of the matter is that Government will spend this money one way or the other. Telling government not to spend money i
  • That's the worst excuse I've _EVER_ heard. So this is an effort to provide Internet to lower income households? In the age of a $250US workstation and a $1200-$2000US laptop computer, why are hotspots the answer?

    If the people can't affort $5-$10USD/mo dialup Internet access for their desktop, how on earth are they going to affort to buy a modern laptop?

    (answer may be used hardware, but lets be serious here)

    -M
  • Who wants to bet that in addition to trying to screen "adult" sites (which will 100% be the case, because such screening is required by federal law) and those other sites that inadvertantly are also screened out (safe sex sites, gay rights sites, art sites, etc.), that it will be very difficult to connect to a site that critizes the major, or city government or could "cause potential problems"?

    And who wants to bet that every political group with an agenda will also try to get the city to screen out sites th

Unix is the worst operating system; except for all others. -- Berry Kercheval

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