Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Free, Fast, Nationwide Wireless Internet?

Whee! Image from Raw Story.
Over the years, I've gone from basic cable and home telephone for maybe $40 total (we're talking 1986ish), to three land lines and extended cable (late 90s) for somewhere between $80 and $100 per month. Eventually, dial-up modems were replaced by cable modems, and we whittled down to one phone line, with more advanced cable, and we were firmly over $100. In 2004, we got our first cell phones for $60 per month total, added to our now $135 (at least) cable and $25ish land line. Cell phones became smart phones, the land line/internet/DVR/cable package is now bundled, and we're talking $130 for the phones and $200+ for the cable. We're at over $330 per month for various forms of media, and we don't have everything. No, we cut Starz, no Cinemax, no whole-house DVR, no iPhones, no iPads. But I have a hard time believing we're paying what we already are, so haven't added anything in a while.

But imagine that the internet portion was free. And everywhere. Imagine that devices grow with this, and change. I have to think that cell phones would become fully internet phones, no provider. Land lines would become redundant. With services like Netflix and so much content online, cable would be (and sort of already is) replaceable. All other things remaining equal--other than the cost of devices--my media bill could be $0, excepting Netflix or other specialty services.

Or could this be Skynet come to life?
There is no way in hell that Time-Warner, Sprint, AT&T, Verizon, Cox, ComCast and CenturyLink are going to take this lying down. If it looks like free wifi is on the horizon, there will be massive lobbying to fight it, curtail it, throttle it, hobble it. For a time, they might try to innovate, offering more for less. Maybe they'll finally take cable a-la-carte, allowing to pick whatever channels you want. There would still be subscription services like HBO and Showtime.

Our newly evolved net-phones would have to be produced by somebody, and you know that if they can't hook you for data, they're going to get you with the device. There will still be the latest and greatest, and it won't be free unless you sign a contract, right? So, you know the providers will survive. But I've got to think it would bring the price down from the stratosphere.


FCC chairman developing plan for free wireless Internet access: report

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is developing a set of proposals that would establish a public wifi network that blankets the country with a high powered signal anyone can access for free, according to The Washington Post. Such a sweeping change would be years in the making, but companies lobbying for it say that universal Internet access could spark an explosion of innovation and help usher in a new age of prosperity. . .

Read more at:  Raw Story

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