Earlier this month, a Washington Post story claimed that the Federal Communications Commission planned to create free public Wi-Fi networks for the whole country.
Well, hold it right there. First of all, there’s no such plan.
Second, you can’t have public Wi-Fi if you don’t have the unlicensed spectrum to support it.
That's why Free Press and our friends at DailyKos are teaming up to urge the FCC to open up more spectrum for unlicensed, public use.
The FCC is currently considering how to allocate high-quality spectrum between licensed (e.g., cell phone companies) and unlicensed uses (e.g., Wi-Fi). Free Press and other public interest groups have urged the FCC to open up a bigger slice of high-quality wireless spectrum for unlicensed (or public) use. This would be an essential first step toward making public Wi-Fi — and thousands of other innovations we haven’t heard of yet — a reality.
This isn’t cool. Giving more spectrum to carriers that already have a ton of it will lead to even less competition in the wireless market. And a lack of competition is one of the reasons broadband service in the United States is too slow, too pricey and unavailable to too many people.
Join Free Press and DailyKos in sending a message to the FCC:
We have a long way to go before we all have access to free public Wi-Fi. But making sure that private carriers don't hog too much of the best spectrum is a key first step.
Josh, Kate, Amy and the rest of the Free Press team
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Please join with Daily Kos and Free Press in urging the Federal Communications Commission to follow through on their proposal to make more high-quality wireless spectrum available for public use, which is a key first step on the path towards better and more public Wi-Fi. Click here to sign the petition—we'll deliver the signatures through official FCC channels. The Federal Communications Commission is considering a proposal to open up a wider share of the high-quality wireless spectrum for public use. This would be an important first step toward making fast, public Wi-Fi available to everyone by potentially allowing local municipalities to invest in, and construct, their own networks. Predictably, the wireless industry doesn't like this idea, and would rather the FCC auction off even more high-quality wireless spectrum to private carriers. These companies will spend big money on lobbyists to make sure this happens, and so far they have received a pretty good return on their lobbyist investment. To date, 19 states have passed laws that all but prevent cities and towns from building public Wi-Fi networks. A lack of competition—from public or private sources—is one of the reasons why broadband service in the United States has become too slow, too costly, and entirely unavailable to many people. Freeing up more spectrum for public use can help bring more competition and innovation into the field, something which would improve quality of service, cost and availability. Please, sign the petition from Daily Kos and Free Press urging the FCC to follow through on their proposal to make more high-quality wireless spectrum available for public use. We have a long way to go to get public Wi-Fi for all, but making sure that private carriers don't hog too much of the good spectrum is a key first step. Keep fighting, Chris Bowers Campaign Director, Daily Kos