Somewhere, I unfortunately don’t remember where, I found a link to the FullertonWireless website. Much to my surprise, Fullerton offers free wireless internet throughout much of downtown Fullerton. Other cities have done similar things, with much fanfare and controversy. Fullerton, it seems, snuck this one under the radar and even its residents don’t know about it (or maybe I’m just slow and this wireless network is common knowledge.)

Having free wifi in Fullerton, or any city, is a great thing. In this months Wired magazine Larry Lessig has an article about the benefit of municipal wifi. For years, the broadband market has been failing US customers. Many people, even in metropolitan areas, can’t get high speed internet. When the market fails, it is the responsibility of the government to step in and do the things the market won’t. Some cities are starting to realize that the market for high speed internet has failed and are stepping in to fix the problem. I’m glad to see Fullerton is one of those cities.

2 Comments so far

  1. Stuart Lawson (unregistered) on March 4th, 2005 @ 12:48 am

    This is great! I never knew cities could do that, or wanted to!

  2. No One of Consequence (unregistered) on March 9th, 2005 @ 12:29 pm

    The market has “failed”? How has it failed? Just because broadband isn’t available or competition is limited in many areas? The market responds to demand. Not “demand for free high-speed internet”, but more like, “me and 50,000 of my neighbors are ready to pay $50 a month for high-speed internet”.

    The FullertonWireless program isn’t a free service for the residents of the area. It’s a service designed to entice people to VISIT the Downtown Fullerton redevelopment zone. They don’t say who is paying for it, but I would guess that most of the expense is coming from local businesses either as a compulsory city fee or more voluntarily through some association of local businesses. Its intent is ONLY to attract people to visit the area in hopes of improving business. Kinda like sayin, “Take a lunch in Downtown Fullerton…and don’t forget your WiFi laptop.”

    FullertonWireless: “It is not the intent of FullertonWireless to provide service to residences in the downtown nor to provide businesses with their primary means of Internet connectivity.”

    City governments have a responsibility to take reasonable and legal steps to make business districts attractive to businesses so as to maximize the potential tax revenue from the district. If that means granting a private wireless consortium rights to install WiFi transceivers on city property so that “free” WiFi service can be offered, they should do it.

    Nothing that CAN be paid for can also be had for free.

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