Feeds

Telcos could block free wireless in Philly

Not so much brotherly love

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

Major telcos are all for free, citywide wireless networks in US cities just so long as the networks aren't free or citywide.

That's the word in Philadelphia where Verizon appears to be on the verge of quashing one of the most ambitious free wireless network plans to date. Telco lobbyists are pushing hard to restrict the rollout of free city-provided wireless networks in Philadelphia and elsewhere, arguing that the service providers are potentially losing out on large revenue streams. The cities, however, see the networks as convenient, helpful to bridging the digital divide and as a way to attract tourists.

In September, Philadelphia unveiled its plan to provide all of the city's 1.6m residents with wireless access by late 2005 or early 2006. The city-provided network would complement existing pay-for-use services at the likes of coffee shops and hotels. All told, Philadelphia said the network would cost $10m to set up and then $1.5m per year for maintenance.

"We believe that for a city to succeed in the future, it must be a digital city," Philly's CIO told us at the time.

Philadelphia expected to cover some of the service's costs by charging tourists for access and by sharing revenue with businesses.

The plan, however, may never reach fruition.

"In the past year, companies including Qwest Communications International Inc., Sprint, BellSouth, and Verizon Communications have pressed for legislation in Pennsylvania, Florida, Utah, and Louisiana that would extract concessions from public-sector telecommunications ventures," the AP reports. "A chief complaint: a city can draw on taxpayer dollars, while a private company has to pay interest on borrowed capital. Also, the telecoms complain, public-sector projects are subject to far less regulation."

A bill currently in front of the Pennsylvania governor would basically block Philadelphia's proposal.

The bill would not take effect until Jan. 1, 2006, which means Philadelphia could roll out its service first. This, however, would require very smooth operations. The telco lobbyists are arguing that service providers should at least be able to bid on similar deals before cities take it upon themselves to start up a service.

The governor has until Nov. 30 to make up his mind on the bill. ®

Related stories

Social engineering - where the user is the weakest link
PCCW hits back at wireless broadband roll-out report
UK wireless watchdog to 'open' 72% of public spectrum

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.