- Feb 4, 2005
- Reaction score
- Saint Paul, MN
- Political Leaning
See, I don't get this at all. A non-profit is offering a poor neighborhood free high-speed internet access and a lawmaker wants to stop it because it interferes with "competition". Pfft.
Wireless networks don't click with some
Telecom bill would ban free Internet access like that in model East End program
Will Reed envisions a mouse in every house — computers, that is — and high-speed Internet connections for all. A wired community, he says, is an empowered one.
From his nonprofit group's East End offices, Reed is turning his vision into a reality. Although Pecan Park neighborhood residents may not realize it, e-mail, pictures and commerce now zip above their tree-lined streets. This high-speed, wireless Internet access is free for the taking.
Reed's organization, Technology for All, has pioneered this program to bridge the digital divide with help from Rice University and an enthusiastic Mayor Bill White, who has asked city libraries to join the effort. This small, wired neighborhood may eventually become a model for providing everyone in the city free, or low-cost, Internet access.
Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, has filed a massive telecommunications bill in Austin this session that, in part, bans Texas cities from participating in wireless information networks.
"I'm not real pleased," Reed said. "As it currently stands, the bill eliminates competition, innovation and a huge research opportunity."
Several telecommunications companies, which provide both dial-up Internet access as well as faster broadband connections through cable and DSL lines, say they were not involved in writing the bill.
That's not to say they disagree with the wireless provision. SBC Communications, which has more DSL customers in the nation than any other provider, said cities should be allowed to offer wireless Internet access in public places, such as parks and libraries. But they should not directly compete with private enterprises by providing services to residents and businesses, said company spokesman Gene Acuña.
"If they do, then we would have some real concerns," he said.