This is how it should be: if you’re living in a poorer neighborhood and/or experiencing the “last mile” problem, you should get government assistance to deliver internet access to your home. And what better than Wi-Fi (the faster type, mind you)?
According to the Post, the D.C. government is soliciting bids on blanketing the District with wireless internet service, “including free service for low-income residents.”
They’re taking an unusual approach, however. They will award the contract to whoever goes the farthest in serving this low-income population with free internet access, and even free computers and training.
It’s a wonderful, brilliant idea. I always want to see our government do more to close gaps – the education gap, the gender gap, the disability gap, the racial gap, the digital divide. Gaps are antithetical to the idea of a free and equal society, and internet service is already as vital as having a television or radio in the living room.
Kudos to the D.C. government. The only issue I have with it is the mandated minimum speed for downloads is 500 kbps. DSL/cable is way faster than that. There are technologies out there capable of delivering faster speeds wirelessly; I’d encourage the people over at city hall/district hall/whatever it’s called to not settle for less just because it’s free.
After all, Adam says a free hamburger that sucks isn’t better just because it’s free.