Imagine being connected to the Internet at all times and not having to pay a wireless carrier to do so? Well, that’s what the FCC is looking to do, following a report that the organization wants to create a nationwide Wi-Fi network for public spaces.
The plan would work similarly to the way cellular networks work, and is said to include powerful airwaves that would be much stronger than the average Wi-Fi network. Utilizing unused or underused frequencies from TV stations, the free coverage would ultimately be available in every city and most rural areas.
For and Against
While the plan is still in the proposal stage with only preliminary talks taking place, the idea has already sparked some controversy as the FCC tries to sway policymakers. Unsurprisingly, tech giants such as Google and Microsoft are said to be in full support of the idea, claiming that the service would result in an influx of innovations, likening it to when the government freed some unrestricted airwaves in 1985, which gave way to such devices as garage door openers and baby monitors. With both companies already developing technology for the future, a boom in potential users would likely equal a jump in profit for them.
However, the major wireless companies, as well as manufacturers involved in the mobile industry, are not pleased by the idea. With free Internet available to all, selling contracts for connectivity will no longer be as lucrative. Instead, the carriers are fighting that the airwaves be sold to businesses rather than be given to the public. Other critics of the idea have also suggested that the FCC raise money by auctioning the space off.
With the tablet market continuing to grow in popularity, the casual user would benefit most from the prospective plan, giving owners an unlimited, free connection on their mobile slates. Yet, with no details on how exactly a Wi-Fi blanket for the nation would be set up or if such a task is even possible without clogging up the airwaves, this plan might not even be possible until much farther down the road.
But until then, there is always wishful thinking!