FCC Proposes Free Public WiFi Nationwide (or maybe not?)

Free-wifi fcc


I’m not a huge fan of the FCC.  Censorship dressed in any garb makes me cringe as taboo and repression only create greater intrigue in a curious mind.  Every once in a while though the boys and girls at the FCC come up with a great idea.

The FCC recently proposed the creation of a massive and free wireless internet network across the US that can be used by the public to surf the web and even make calls.  This would allow the vast majority of people residing in the US to throw away their phone and internet bills.

While many telecom companies have rallied the loud-mouth cavalry and are in full lobbying mode in an attempt to persuade law makers that money in their pockets rather than free internet and phone service is somehow a better option for the people, other companies like Google and Microsoft are praising the FCC for its potential decision.

The proposal from the FCC:

has rattled the $178 billion wireless industry, which has launched a fierce lobbying effort to persuade policymakers to reconsider the idea, analysts say. That has been countered by an equally intense campaign from GoogleMicrosoft and other tech giants who say a free-for-all WiFi service would spark an explosion of innovations and devices that would benefit most Americans, especially the poor.


The WiFi the FCC is proposing would be stronger (easily passing through concrete walls and hills) as well as more encompassing than the wireless internet we are familiar with today, leading to the expansive, instant connectivity of the mundane (simple text messages), to the highly vital (communication between a heart monitor and a hospital across town).

This wireless revolution would be a global first, allowing the USA to once again be the leader in innovation and freedom, and remarkable innovation is surely what will follow. The last time something of this magnitude occurred, the FCC:

made a limited amount of unlicensed airwaves available in 1985, an unexpected explosion in innovation followed. Baby monitors, garage door openers and wireless stage microphones were created. Millions of homes now run their own wireless networks, connecting tablets, game consoles, kitchen appliances and security systems to the Internet.

A free market harboring true competition and innovation while helping those in need; aren’t those some of the most basic principles of the USA? Let’s hope our stubborn congress stops selling itself out to special interest groups and worrying so much about abortion, gay rights, and an ancient book. Let’s hope our stubborn congress allows this revolution to spread its wings and connect the nation and the world at large.

Unfortunately, we may need more than just hope as:

some Republican lawmakers have criticized [the] idea of creating free WiFi networks, noting that an auction of the airwaves would raise billions for the U.S. Treasury. That sentiment echoes arguments made by companies such as AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon WirelessIntel and Qualcomm, in a letter to the FCC staff late last month, that the government should focus its attention on selling the airwaves to businesses.

Companies like Cisco and Intel are claiming that this Internet overhaul could interfere with various broadcasts and 4G signals, but as usual, the claims are baseless:

An FCC official added that there is little proof so far that the spectrum that could be used for public WiFi systems would knock out broadcast and 4G wireless signals.

As usual, lobbyists and big-name business execs are stagnating progress with scare tactics as they sell out the greater good of the people for a few more rounds of golf on their private islands.

I recently wrote an article discussing Google’s introduction of a free internet service using fiber optics, aptly named Google Fiber. Whether or not the FCC’s plans are allowed to play out, and regardless of Google Fiber’s rate of expansion, hopefully this recent turn of events will force telecom companies across the nation to start improving their services and charging affordable rates.

They are holding the American people, and our precious internet hostage; the ransom is a criminally high monthly bill they know we will pay.

Edit* Or maybe some of the biggest media sources, including Wondergressive, got duped! (Our precious internet being held ransom still applies people!)












Free Internet, Help Yourself


Despite the US historically claiming to be against monopolies that corner markets and stifle progress and competition, we are surrounded by big name corporations that completely dominate the markets that define our consumerism-centered lives. One of the most well known industries with only a few big name contenders is the internet service industry. It is arguable as to how natural internet service provider (ISP) monopolies are, but one thing is for sure; we pay way too much for way too little!

Snail speeds, faulty connections, and despicable service standards abound across the entire spectrum of the internet industry in the US.  Just think, 94% of South Koreans enjoy internet speeds that are 200x faster than the average connection in the US for an average of $27, half the price of what we yanks are stuck paying.

Lucky for us, there’s a new contender in town with a name you’ve probably heard before; Google. Google has recently constructed the infrastructure for a fiber-optic internet connection in  Kansas City, Kansas, and Kansas City, Missouri. Google internet is called Google Fiber, and it’s making an incredibly positive impression on those that have had the opportunity to try it out.  This was initially an experiment conducted in hopes of lowering the price, and raising the quality, and availability of internet currently being provided by such companies as AT&T, and Verizon. That being said, Google executives recently made the statement that due to the incredibly positive reviews of the service, the possibility of Google Fiber expansion is very real.

This type of turf war rhetoric is leaving other ISPs scrambling to please their customers, something that has never been seen before. A man who lives in Kansas City, one of the initial locations where Google has set up shop, noticed that his ISP, Time Warner, recently informed him that they would be boosting his internet connection by 50% and reducing his payments from $45 to $30.  Not surprisingly, this sudden change of heart took place just as Google Fiber flipped the switch and went operational.  Hah.

There are various problems involved with fiber-optic internet including installation costs and bandwidth availability.  It appears though that through Google’s ambitious experiment we are seeing that there is much more ISPs can be doing to ensure a better product and service.

I’ve saved the best part for last, the most exciting part about Google Fiber; free internet. No kidding.  Google Fiber provides free internet access for an initial one-time cost of $300.  By the way, that’s the cheapest, least inclusive, and least exciting plan currently offered by Google.  For $120 per month you get a 2 year contract consisting of:

Up to one gigabit upload & download speed, Full channel TV lineup, 2 year contract, No data caps, Nexus 7 tablet, 1 TV Box, Storage Box, Network Box, 1TB Google Drive

Google is handing us the horse’s head, an offer we can’t refuse.  Check out the various plans and specific specifications below:

Plan Gigabit + TV Gigabit Free Internet
Price $120/month ($300 construction fee waived) $70/month ($300 construction fee waived) $0/month + $300 construction fee
Internet bandwidth (download / upload) 1 Gbit/s / 1 Gbit/s 1 Gbit/s / 1 Gbit/s 5 Mbit/s / 1 Mbit/s
TV service included Yes No No
Storage included 2 TB DVR Storage (8 simultaneous recordings possible)
1 TB Google Drive
1 TB Google Drive only None
Hardware included Nexus 7 tablet
TV box
Network box
Storage box (DVR)
Chromebook optional
Network box
Chromebook optional
Network box
Chromebook optional

*Note: Google has plans to increase the speed of the free internet as fiber-optic cable is laid.
**Update: Google Fiber is already beginning to spread.  The expansion is initially taking place around the original Google Fiber cities, but it’s only a matter of time before your neighborhood becomes a fiberhood!