“Free” Wi Fi? Really?

“Free” WiFi only thrives in ViniLand.

“Someone is paying for the access. Either the company itself is paying for the access and offering it to you as an incentive, or, in most cases, it is sponsored by a provider in a partnership (e.g., Google or Starbucks). So understanding that someone is covering the cost is important. It is not free!” (There Is No Such Thing as “Free” WiFi)

Are business owners expected to pony up for “free” WiFi? How much? What core services do you want cut so the city can provide “free” downtown Wi Fi?

But the powers-that-be can’t seem to agree on whether funding of any sort should go to free wi-fi, particularly in these straitened times.

In Islington’s case, spending cuts led to funds being targeted on core services like adult social care, and the free wi-fi scheme stopped working in March 2011.

“Wi-fi is not something we would put money into,” says Kulveer Ranger, an adviser to the London mayor on all things digital. “We put money into things with a direct application to public service, like transport.”

And this attitude is why some people say the private sector is a more viable route.

“Enabling the private sector to accomplish this goal is preferable to taxpayer funded efforts,” Churchill says. “Make it free for everyone.” (The Myth of Free Wi-Fi)

What else only thrives in ViniLand? Inquiring minds want to know.


Image- Adrain Michael.  Creative Commons


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