Today is the official launch of the Earthlink Wi-Fi Network in Anaheim. I would have liked to have said the Anaheim Wi-Fi network, but Earthlink is in charge of this one and I’m not too wild about that (It’s like saying the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, but with the way they are playing call them Los Angeles, Anaheim doesn’t need to be dragged down with them).
In a couple recent articles about municipal Wi-Fi there have been problems. In Taipei, the city teamed up with a company called WiFly, but very few use the service or very few can access it. In fact, most choose to access the free hot spots that are available on most of the street corners in the downtown area. Taipei is an example of paid v. free (an argument that I have had before on this same subject). When its free people will use it, when you have to pay for it then it remains stagnant. The WiFly network has 4,100 hotspots and covers 90% of the city, but only 40,000 of 2.6 million residents are paying for the service.
While the model for Municipal Wi-Fi is still in an experimental stage, I have the following proposal. If you are a resident, you pay your taxes, and you live within the city limits, the city should send you a WAP key for the municipal network. Since your taxes are already going to city services why not execute the program in this way. Anaheim already has its own Water and Power Department; maybe you could throw in the Wi-Fi as part of your public utilities. Why should I have to pay Earthlink for service?
Anaheim has plans for the Wi-Fi, such as providing Internet access to Anaheim Police squad cars and fire trucks, extending city services, and maybe parking meters.
With Earthlink in charge of the service, will I have to pay them for my home network? Earthlink is my ISP (in the effort of full disclosure) and I have my own home network (I am the IT guy in the house, when your a geek it comes with the territory). According to The Gadgetress, some homes may require a booster to spread the signal throughout their home, but she did add that most people will probably pick up the signal without the booster. So will that be $21.95 per month for each computer in your home or is each one allowed under the same account?
BTW: The Earthlink Wi-Fi does not extend out to the AH, so we’re stuck paying high prices for DSL.