Public or Private Wi-Fi?
also noticed this BBC article Wi-Fi cities spark hotspot debate
concerning local government moving ahead to provide wideband access. Several Philly bloggers have mentioned the tension between the city and Verizon over this issue.
This whole mess highlights a couple of points: the private companies are not rushing to expand broadband availability, preferring to make as much as they can from what already exists; and private business doesn't think it can compete with government.
The first point is endemic in the corporate world: no new facilities or investments, just milk your cash cow until it dies. That's why there are so few manufacturing jobs left in the US, corporations didn't modernize.
We have heard for years the mantra that privatizing public services would save money and reduce taxes. I've never seen it work, and apparently neither have the telecommunications companies, as they claim they can't compete with local governments in providing wideband service.
As a capitalist and end-user I think they should compete in the market, and may the best provider win. I will say it is a bit absurd that government recognizes an unfulfilled opportunity before business.