Free Public Wi-Fi?

By Shea Garner
No need to eat up your cell phone data plan anymore! When visiting New York City just connect to the new, free wifi network installed around the city.
The idea of free public wireless access for everyone in a developed country doesn’t seem too far-fetched. With a large enough server or some sort of link between servers, wireless should be extremely cheap and available to all. It is a known fact that consumers overpay for their monthly Internet setups, or even texting plans. It costs Verizon or AT&T virtually nothing for a text message to go across their network, so why are we getting charged for it?
The idea of “free public Wi-Fi” has generally been regarded as a scam. I can’t tell you how many airports, cafes, or other public spots I’ve attended that tout a “free public Wi-Fi” network to join when I attempt to connect. These networks are usually created by hackers and scammers looking for your personal information to make a quick buck. But New York City appears to be one of the first major cities to take a step in providing official free Wi-Fi access to the general public. However, they have gone about it in possibly the most ass-backwards way imaginable. The Department of Information Technology is installing the hotspots in selected phone booths throughout the city and they only sport a range of about 100 feet. Are you kidding me? The City That Never Sleeps’ big technological advancement involves shitty mid-range Wi-Fi installed in possibly the dirtiest place, aside from a Starbucks restroom (hello, no key needed to access)? America desperately needs to develop a collective response to this issue. Free wireless access for everyone is far from impossible, and there are plenty of other ways for hungry corporations to make money off of the ignorant consumer.
What are your thoughts on New York City’s development? Should Wi-Fi be free for everyone? Let us know in the comments section below.
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