Strange Definition of \"Free\"

The city of Philadelphia's public servants have come up with a plan to build a citywide broadband network and offer high speed Wi-Fi for "free".

As the network expands, [chief information officer for Philadelphia Dianah] Neff says, businesses and homes could get free or low-cost access.

Where exactly will the money to build and maintain the network come from?

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From a 'magic place'far away

From a 'magic place'far away called your wallet. socialist's never cease to amaze. its a scream.:roll: they can dream of endless schemes on other peoples payroll. BTW , the Philidelphia area is one of the most grotesquely over burdened goverment slob per capita areas in North America. just a hint as to what drives that kind of self preservationary job creation.

The article doesn't say it's

The article doesn't say it's guaranteed to be 'free'. Among the first to use the service would be city government/police and the like. I wonder what the city is paying out now for an internet provider, and if this works out cheaper for them in the long run?

As far as building and maintainence -- the article says they will be working with Verizon and Comcast, and turning the whole lot over to them.

It sounds like a possible win/win situation . . . but, it is a little soon to tell without more specifics.


BTW, I'd like to renew my

BTW, I'd like to renew my call to kick Philadelphia County out of Pennsylvania. They're dragging down the entire state.

Maybe NJ will take them. :grin:

Diana, Not to be too


Not to be too cynical, but, when's the last time the government produced a win-win situation? The name of the State's game is some people win, others lose...and certain folks at the top get to control exactly who wins and who loses. There is no other outcome in socialism; in this case, some people will lose (taxpayers whose money gets stolen to build this wifi network) and others will win (the State and its chosen beneficiaries).

Christ on a crutch. How

Christ on a crutch. How many hours do people spend arguing about what kind of nanny software has to be on public library computers to keep kids safe from porn? Only after this network gets deployed at massive taxpayer cost will the fact that they're potentially broadcasting porn into every nook and cranny in the city start being debated, with the following possible outcomes:

1. All traffic goes through a filter run by the city. Such protection software generally does a poor job blocking pornography and a good job blocking legitimate sites. Sites critical of the Philadelphia city government will fall disproportionately into this latter category. The city will have a system whereby improperly blocked sites can be reported, but this system will involve:

1a. spending entire days on hold with City Hall only to have your call answered by an idiot who can only suggest reinstalling Internet Explorer.

1b. submitting a certified letter explaining why you need to visit the site in question and then waiting 30 days.

2. Only adults will be able to use the WiFi network. (Note that this requirement will render invalid any argument in favor of this program that relies on educational benefits.) Adults will be required to register with the city as WiFi users and prove their identity when signing on. This inconvenience will preclude most travelers' use of the network, thus rendering invalid any arguments in favor of the network involving attracting business to the city.

Maybe NJ will take

Maybe NJ will take them.


- Josh, South Jersey Patriot

>>when's the last time the

>>when's the last time the government produced a win-win situation?<<

Just off the top of my head, Cleveland, 1977 -- when Dennis Kucinich refused to sell the municiple electric company at the insistance of the banks. The bank forced the city into default temporarily, but the city kept the electric company AND the taxpayers saved hundreds of millions of dollars.

While Dennis didn't reap benefits right away, he will more than likely always be assured[at the least] a place in government in the State of Ohio.

Since I'm originally from Cleveland, I always remember that one.

How is it that a city being

How is it that a city being forced into default (which would destroy its credit rating and thus massively increase the cost of borrowing for decades) saved Cleveland money? I don't know the circumstances of the case, but just off the top of my head that sounds very fishy. How much did taxes have to rise to cover the consequences of default? How much did electricity rates actually increase as a consequence? What happened to the quality of electrical service or of government services in general to Cleveland after this?

Many, many questions, and of course TANSTAAFL.

Besides the fact that

Besides the fact that wireless access is not a public good -- therefore there is no rational basis for the government offering it -- how long do you think it would be before liberals demand, for example, that the government provide free laptops to everyone, or fight tooth-and-nail against every fee increase? (Think "subway fares"...)

Philly's experiment is

Philly's experiment is likely to drive out efforts of local businesses to offer WiFi hotspots, be less reliable, and cost far more than if the city govt just sat back and waited for businesses to knit the city together on their own.

Brian, I was going to


I was going to quickly try to answer some of your questions regarding muny light in Cleveland -- but now I feel oddly compelled to write my Senator and demand free internet and laptop computers for everyone. :P

WWB, as a fellow former

WWB, as a fellow former Cleveland area resident, I have to say this is the first time I've ever heard anyone put a positive spin to that little incident!

David, The first you've


The first you've heard anyone put a positive spin on the muny light incident? I don't know about you, but I still get back to Cleveland now and again.

There are still also those who attempt to place negative spin on what was the Enron of it's day, but even the negative spin can't change the current value of muny light.


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