Free Power, NYC, Feb. 3, 2008.
Photo by L. Quilter.
In NYC earlier this month, I saw someone sitting on a sidewalk with a laptop and other accoutrements. I assumed it was just a convenient (if cold) place to pick up a free wireless signal, but when I got closer I realized that the person was also picking up free power.
They kindly allowed me to photograph the setup. Simply by popping open this NYC pole — just one of the standard crosswalk poles — patching a cable, and attaching a powerstrip, voilá! City power.
Now that’s supporting the arts and technology.
while I’ve been sad to see some cafes that previously offered free wireless moving to a pay model or restricting their network for other reasons, i’ve been seeing more and more free wireless popping up in other places.
today at a restaurant for lunch there were three: one called “[person’s name]’s computer”; one for the name of the restaurant; and one called “fuck comcast”. heh.
In a recent article bemoaning the difficulties faced by business travelers of getting Internet access in their hotel rooms, not once did the writer ever describe the real problem. The problem isn’t access to the network; in almost all instances, the problem is authentication to the network, because the network employs some proprietary network authentication protocol. If they just gave it away for free then I’d bet 90% or more of their problems would go away. (As would a lot of the costs tied up in these weird service / helpdesk plans, too.) They could even do some network authentication using WEP passwords, although, really, what’s the point.
I’m sad. The state of PA passed, and the governor signed (12/1), a bill that prevents municipalities from offering wireless networks. Verizon lobbied for this legislation in response to Philadelphia’s plan to offer low or free wireless across the city. On the radio the other day, I heard an interview with a Verizon spokesperson who said they might let Philadelphia do it. How fucking kind of them.
Basically the bill lets Verizon get a right of first refusal if any municipality wants to offer its own service. Should Verizon say no, it then has to provide broadband to that community within 14 months. Of course at its own prices …
muniwireless.com has more.