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The federal government wants to create super WiFi networks across the nation, so powerful and broad in reach that consumers could use them to make calls or surf the Internet without paying a cellphone bill every month.

The proposal from the Federal Communications Commission 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 Google, Microsoft 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.

Designed by FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, the plan would be a global first. When the U.S. government made a limited amount of unlicensed airwaves available in 1985, an unexpected explosion in innovation followed."

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One side of me loves this idea because of the obvious benefits. Also it would spur the ISP industries to have to provide better internet service, because the only flaw America currently has is that it's internet is from the nineties. Also it would help the poor, ect.

But the other side of me believes...

It would be the mark of the beast system and you'll need a chip to access your free internet and answer your free obama phones.

That this is a blatant attempt to have a government monitor placed in every home, neigh, every device.

It's UNHEALTHY to have terabytes of computer information pass through you 24/7
Heimdalr's avatar

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If they are serious about using IPv6 to its fullest potential and give every consumer device or vehicle its own semi-permanent residence in the ether, there's a nearly unlimited potential for both good and bad. Data security issues are crucial. Man-in-the-middle attacks using a powerful adapter could potentially hijack people's session in their online bank from miles away under one of the government superhubs. Wireless client isolation is a solution, but it's not perfect. Privacy is almost as much of an issue if the devices can't be disconnected from wifi (pretty standard, one-click function on most devices by now, though)

I'd like to see it get used to give cars real-time information about traffic, road status and speed limits. If you'd be able to disconnect, you hopefully wouldn't be served speeding tickets from a printer in your dashboard. Cars in general would have apps you can run to tune the engine or transform it to a battle mech (for rooted devices). Well, almost.

Still, one should be worried about censorship. In a WSJ article four years ago, the former FCC Chairman unveiled his wish to create a nation-wide, "free, pornography-free wireless Internet" which was also going to be closely monitored by the media industry and various copyright holders; the idea was abandoned quickly and the man and chair replaced.
Reluctant Samurai's avatar

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Holy s**t.

I would never, ******** ever use that network.

Of course Google wants it. They'd be able to collect information from ******** everyone and everything. They'd become an unholy combination of HyperVac and SkyNet.

Sorry, Google. You'll have to glean my porn viewing the old fashioned way. You know, like when I type them into your search engine.
So they're going to make tens of thousands (conservatively) to millions of wireless APs and keep them powered on year round? And then maintain them? And I suppose they won't want to spend much money on this, so all these devices are probably going to come from China. And of course, WiFi has a limited number of channels, so this is going to interfere with other 2.4GHz networks.

That's not even mentioning the obvious ulterior motives for all parties involved.
Disa Uniflora's avatar

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God, such doom and gloom in this thread.
Heimdalr's avatar

Mega Noob

I didn't intend to be so negative. I think it's one of the areas where public services can excel, really. Internet access is a near-universal need even now. What with the advent of "if you don't have a facebook you're obviously a crazy ******** and I won't hire you" and s**t. I just think it should not go off half-cocked without adequate funding from the get-go.

Industrial-strength wifi access points have a decent range by now. They would at first use more power than cellular antennae but this will probably be mitigated with modernization, and the adaptation of new bandwidth standards. And better adapters, most importantly. ******** sake, I installed a naval wifi adapter this summer that can access ordinary routers two nautical miles away. The guy had free wifi all the way to Denmark.

So sate the security needs of such a broad implementation and it will be the best that has happened to social and technological accessibility thus far. Not to mention budget-wise, in the long run.
Less Than Liz's avatar

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Man, the tone in this thread is substantially different from the tone in this one.
Honey of the South's avatar

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Less Than Liz
Man, the tone in this thread is substantially different from the tone in this one.
IKR
I don't see a problem with this idea. I know kids at my school who can't access the Internet even though it's kind of needed for the majority of classes (Moodle). It's not like everything the government does has a conspiracy behind it.
Less Than Liz
Man, the tone in this thread is substantially different from the tone in this one.
you know what else is free in Finland? the Newspaper. That's how highly they value their information. So, like saying Finland gets free internet isn't even a big deal. They get alot of stuff for free. Also Finland has like 1/5 of Texas's GDP, rofl.

But here in America, the Newspapers ain't free.
Disa Uniflora
God, such doom and gloom in this thread.
easy for you to say. If you live close enough to the American border you might even get some free internet too. I bet you can't wait to canadian mooch off our prime usa internet, jeez.
Young King under Heaven's avatar

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Free WiFi, you say? I love it! Do it now!
Reluctant Samurai
Holy s**t.

I would never, ******** ever use that network.

Of course Google wants it. They'd be able to collect information from ******** everyone and everything. They'd become an unholy combination of HyperVac and SkyNet.

Sorry, Google. You'll have to glean my porn viewing the old fashioned way. You know, like when I type them into your search engine.

Or by asking your ISP?

I'm not sure how you think google is going to have more control over your life just because the government gives you free WiFi.
Reluctant Samurai's avatar

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N3bu
Reluctant Samurai
Holy s**t.

I would never, ******** ever use that network.

Of course Google wants it. They'd be able to collect information from ******** everyone and everything. They'd become an unholy combination of HyperVac and SkyNet.

Sorry, Google. You'll have to glean my porn viewing the old fashioned way. You know, like when I type them into your search engine.

Or by asking your ISP?

I'm not sure how you think google is going to have more control over your life just because the government gives you free WiFi.


It was mostly a joke.

But what I was driving at is that if Google becomes a serious proponent of this legislation, and eventually becomes a major provider of this all encompassing access, they'll have more direct access to raw data.

And with more people reliant on a completely free, public service internet traffic would go up, thus increasingly the available data from everyone.

It just comes across as a set up.
Reluctant Samurai
N3bu
Reluctant Samurai
Holy s**t.

I would never, ******** ever use that network.

Of course Google wants it. They'd be able to collect information from ******** everyone and everything. They'd become an unholy combination of HyperVac and SkyNet.

Sorry, Google. You'll have to glean my porn viewing the old fashioned way. You know, like when I type them into your search engine.

Or by asking your ISP?

I'm not sure how you think google is going to have more control over your life just because the government gives you free WiFi.


It was mostly a joke.

But what I was driving at is that if Google becomes a serious proponent of this legislation, and eventually becomes a major provider of this all encompassing access, they'll have more direct access to raw data.

And with more people reliant on a completely free, public service internet traffic would go up, thus increasingly the available data from everyone.

It just comes across as a set up.

Google doesn't run ISP services.

Google likely wants this to pass because it would increase usage of the search engine and thus the values of the advertising contracts. And unless your using Android on your phone, there are certain complexities tracking users in a free wireless network, I doubt they'll be able to link you to any real searches.
I'm just annoyed because people tend to assume that certain Internet entities are far more capable then they really are. This doesn't help when people think using a computer like a hacker is like the movie 'hackers' thanks to hollywood.

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