Free Public Wi-Fi in Napa Valley? FCC Proposal Could Pit Google Against Cell Carriers

The federal government wants to bring fast, powerful—and free—Internet connections to communities across the nation.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a plan that would create super Wi-Fi networks all around the country—and threaten the viability of big-name cell-phone carriers and Internet providers.

But not all tech companies are against the FCC's plan. Microsoft and Mountain View-based Google are spending top dollars to lobby in support of the plan, according to a report in The Washington Post, because they believe free Wi-Fi would help drive further innovation and provide a market for more gadgets.

Cellular carriers are not as supportive. The Post reports that the FCC wants to buy airwaves that are more powerful than a typical household Wi-Fi connection, making it possible that people could opt out of traditional cell phone coverage and home Internet service.

Information was not immediately available Thursday on whether Napa Valley has free public wi-fi, or if it is being planned. A Patch blogger, has sampled numerous "hot spots" at cafes and restaurants but has made no mention of free city-sponsored wi-fi.

[Ed. Note: If you have information about free public wi-fi in Napa, please add it in the comments].

Even if it's approved by the FCC, The Post says the new network would still take several years to implement. And it's unclear how reliable the connection would be in urban areas, where many people might be using the free Wi-Fi system at the same time.

Do you think government-provided Wi-Fi would be good for Napa Valley? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments section below.


Napa Patch is now Napa Valley Patch! Follow us on Twitter | Like us on Facebook | Sign up for the daily email with links to the latest news | Got something to say? Start a blog and share your views with the valley.

Paul Hubbard February 08, 2013 at 06:17 PM
If I recall that system was never designed to be "Free", it was a test bed for AT&T. It was free if you wanted to connect and check an email but to use as your home internet connection the prices were not that great. No matter who owns the system we'll end up paying once we get over a threshold of use.
Michael Johnson February 08, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Sounds like another can of worms to me. Free is not FREE! Mike
Loren Haas February 08, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Dear Patch, In addition to the "inappropriate" button can we get one labeled "sophmoric"?
John Richards February 09, 2013 at 04:08 AM
If you think the Interstate freeways were a government boondoggle then I could see why you would think government sponsored wi-fi is a bad idea. Personally I think it is an idea whose time has come because I'm tired of being ripped off by AT&T and Comcast.
MICHAEL P WILSON "Independent Kid" February 09, 2013 at 05:04 AM
List of failed government programs. Fed Gov health care reform Local Gov The bus system


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »