Telecoms lobby against public wireless networks: While we love hearing about community wi-fi projects like those in St. Louis and Taipei, telecommunications companies don’t. Providing this service is what they make money doing, and they’re actively opposing many community wi-fi projects across the country.
A chief complaint: a city can draw on taxpayer dollars, while a private company has to pay interest on borrowed capital. Also, the telecoms complain, public-sector projects are subject to far less regulation. […]
The bill that reached [the Pennsylvania governer’s] desk over the weekend originally included a provision that would bar “political subdivisions” in Pennsylvania from providing telecommunications services for a fee. […]
As the bill evolved, House lawmakers softened the provision to allow the public-sector projects if the traditional local telephone company first declined to provide the service.
In the days before the Senate approved the bill early Friday morning, Philadelphia’s wireless advocates discovered the provision and cried foul. In response, senators changed it to allow services operating before January 1, 2006, to continue, giving Philadelphia some time to get going.
This isn’t going to make many friends among the geek set.
On a related note, wi-fi continues to proliferate here in Sioux Falls. I was driving down Minnesota Ave. the other day and saw that the Taco Johns restaurants are now wi-fi enabled.