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 http://www.mainstreetswifi.com/. ACLU of Southern California. (2007). San Francisco Finalizes WiFi Contract with Earthlink/Google. San Francisco. Our City. "Our City." from http://our-city.org/. 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 http://www.bostonwag.org/. Boston Wireless Task Force. "The Mayor's Wireless Task Force: Wireless in Boston." from http://boston.gov/wireless/. 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. [...]
[...] Interestingly, instead of rejecting the commotion around new tools using the ideals of the ubicomp model, urban areas specifically the cities of Boston, New York, and San Francisco are doing quite a bit to promote their plans for citywide wireless Internet, based on several basic structures of reasoning and under pressure to keep up with a quickly evolving technological world. Each city's model is independently constructed, and each city has its own contractors, reasons for hiring specific companies, and the occasional task force as each mayor also has a unique set of challenges to tackle to build the infrastructure and spread the word. [...]
[...] Companies like fon.com have garnered support by giving away free wireless routers so citizens could take free WiFi back to their own communities (Reardon 2006), while Google has made deals with the mayor's office to build and support a free WiFi structure for the city, yet has so far failed to make good on the promise amid controversy (Kopytoff 2005). The city's contract with Google and now Earthlink has drawn sharp criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union, which claims that working with Google is not a contract for the people but a violation of civil rights as the company can track everything done online by individual users (ACLU 2007). [...]
[...] Can Wi-Fi make it in Manhattan? CNET News.com. Reardon, M. (2006). Taking Wi-Fi power to the people. CNet News.com. Reed, K. (2005). If we're Tech City, where's our WiFi? The Boston Globe. Boston. Sandvig, C. Y., David; Meinrath, Sascha (2004). Hidden Interfaces [...]
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