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Wireless Internet: Structure for the Urban Future

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  1. Introduction
  2. Confusing the issue
  3. Boston, New York, and San Francisco: Promoting plans for citywide wireless internet
  4. Problems installing public WiFi
  5. The lack of public wireless Internet service
  6. The point of wireless technology
  7. Conclusion
  8. Works cited

The battle for control of public airwaves is nothing new. Following in the steps of radio and cellular telephones, wireless Internet ? or wireless fidelity, known and trademarked as WiFi ? is becoming the next major wireless permanent infrastructure accessed in urban public space. As such, regulatory concerns arise about this third generation of wireless technology (Werbach 2003), as do conflicts in varied visions for the future. A number of the nation's growing cities are working to build up the faculties needed for wireless Internet citywide, and with that growth comes the promise of networks and accessibility for all. A leading expert on wireless technology, Craig Mathias from FarPoint Group in Ashland, MA, explained, ?Every major city is going to have some kind of citywide Wi-Fi access. It will become an expectation like electricity or telephone service? (Reardon 2005). Without always understanding the technology at hand, several major cities have already begun to commit resources to building necessary infrastructure, both to serve the general public as well as close the digital divide (Werbach 2003).Indeed, the prevalence of wireless Internet access continues to rise, beginning to catch up with broadband and high speed Internet connections that now service over 37 million people in the United States, up from just 7 million in 2000, according to the Federal Communication Commission (Lehrer 2006). Wireless Internet, requiring less complicated technical infrastructure, is a less expensive option if geography allows for its penetration into all areas attempting to access service from the same connection.

key words- ubicomp model, antenna, WiFi-NY's, NYCwireless, Earthlink, ACLU 2007, wireless technology

[...] "Boston Main Streets WiFi." from ACLU of Southern California. (2007). San Francisco Finalizes WiFi Contract with Earthlink/Google. San Francisco. Our City. "Our City." from California Political Desk. (2007). Mayor Newsom Joins San Francisco Students in Launch of WiFiAnywhere. California Chronicle. San Francisco. Boston Wireless Advocacy Group. "Advocate, Educate, Inspire: Open Wi-Fi in Greater Boston." from Boston Wireless Task Force. "The Mayor's Wireless Task Force: Wireless in Boston." from Kopytoff, V. Kim, R. [...]

[...] To understand the near future of wireless Internet in urban spaces, the political jargon must be largely ignored as politicians make unrealistic promises based upon unreliable information. Technology experts and grassroots organizers have already tapped into the public needs and have begun working to alleviate confusion spread when municipal government attempts to institute impractical policy. While it is impossible to predict any long-term effects and standards in such a quickly growing field, it is possible to erect infrastructure that will assist development, regardless of how policy dictates ownership of the airwaves. [...]

[...] (2005). Google offers S.F. Wi-Fi--for free. San Francisco Gate Chronicle. San Francisco. Lehrer, J. (2006). Cities Go Wireless. NewsHour Extra. United States, Public Broadcasting Corporation. Meinrath, S. (2004). Wirelessing the World. Urbana-Champaign, Institute of Communications Research, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: 42. NYCwireless. "NYCwireless." from Reardon, M. (2005). [...]

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