Is Municipal Wi-Fi A Right? If So, Who Pays?

For many cities, a municipal wireless network is no longer just a someday proposition — in fact, Wi-Fi access is either already in place or in the planning stages for cities across the US. The new question to ask is “who.” Who will have access to “free citywide access?” Updating wireless networks to reach all areas equally can put cities at risk of neglecting other needs, but leaving them alone can leave segments of the population outside the access area. Citywide installers are running into literal barriers as well — stucco, elevators, brick, buildings, and walls. New hardware is being developed to avoid the “hit and miss” method of access to all, but costs rise along with accuracy. “Free” citywide access may soon suffer from a short shelf-life.
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