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Free Public Wi-Fi in Rohnert Park? 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 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.

Locally, wi-fi is available at the library, at Sonoma State University and many coffee shops. But efforts to make wi-fi available everywhere have not gotten off the ground.

See a list of available hot spots in Rohnert Park and Cotati here

Even if it's approved by the FCC, a 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 Rohnert Park? Are there other solutions? Tell us in the comments section below.

M erick February 08, 2013 at 02:54 PM
Yes screw AT&T and any other company that has a corner on the market. As long as I can have my iPhone I'm good.
Doug Strickland February 08, 2013 at 05:03 PM
It's pretty hard to go anywhere these days where you aren't covered by some level of WiFi. Every Starbucks, McDonalds, and Library (Plus all universities..) have free public wifi. Mountain View has partnered with Google to provide wifi throughout the downtown area, which is fast and ubiquitous. I think that its a good idea.
G Man February 08, 2013 at 05:10 PM
Maybe we could fully staff police/fire departments or fix a few potholes before we worry about WiFi. Just saying...
Doug Strickland February 08, 2013 at 05:15 PM
Hey G, This program is funded by the providers, not the local governments. I agree about the potholes etc., but according to the Post article, and the programs that Google has done in the past, this is funded as an investment by Google and MS. It's freaking the cell providers out because if this were available everywhere, most folks could drop their cell phone plans.
don February 08, 2013 at 10:41 PM
This is a gr8 idea. I hope it spreads far and wide. The other infrastructure upgrade I would love to see is FIBER! I realize this has nothing to do with the current article, however US is decade behind most of the western country's who have had fiber infrastructure for years.
Ernest Giono February 09, 2013 at 04:46 PM
I don't understand this idea of free WiFi. Does this mean I can give up my broadband Internet service from Comcast? If so, count me in as a supporter.
Reginald "Rex" Henderson February 10, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Naw, it doesn't mean anything like that. It means that you and me will ultimately be footing the bill to let male slackers and teen harlots with g-strings protruding from their backsides use their computers and Internet phones downtown. Ridiculous idea.
Dan Fleming February 12, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Great idea!!!

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