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Ear to the Ground

Government Urges Free Wi-Fi Service

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Posted on Feb 4, 2013
Flickr/Florian

The Federal Communications Commission is looking into developing “Super Wi-Fi” networks that would be free and widely available to all Internet users across the United States, according to The Washington Post.

If the FCC’s proposal is approved, it would still take several years to implement. Not surprisingly, the idea is being met with resistance by the wireless industry.

The Washington Post:

The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from Google, Microsoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.

The airwaves that FCC officials want to hand over to the public would be much more powerful than existing WiFi networks that have become common in households. They could penetrate thick concrete walls and travel over hills and around trees. If all goes as planned, free access to the Web would be available in just about every metropolitan area and in many rural areas.

The new WiFi networks would also have much farther reach, allowing for a driverless car to communicate with another vehicle a mile away or a patient’s heart monitor to connect to a hospital on the other side of town.

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