“during the Budget speech for 2017, Government has pledged to make our country one of the first Wi-Fi states in the world and a few weeks later launched a mobile government strategy for all public services. …in todayâ€™s globalised society one cannot imagine of not having access to the internet….This service will be available on all electronic devices which use the internet. These include laptops, smart phones and tablets.”
See Free Wi-Fi service available from more than 80 sites in Government departmentsMalta is making a statement. The government has committed to provide a bunch of $free WiFi access points out of government departments. In the 21st century, free speech has thrived on the Internet. Is it time to treat Free Speech and the Internet alike? $free and free to all? It might be easy to implement in a tiny country like Malta, but how would one do it all over the globe?
In Canada, I think it could be done eventually by government regulation. Just require every router/cable-modem to provide at least one WiFi access point. It wouldn’t cost much to get manufacturers who wanted to sell their products in Canada to comply but I can see lots of consumers just cutting off the antennae… or installing their own home-built routers with WiFi dongles. Nope. This will require some work.
An educational/promotional campaign would be needed to convince a majority of users of the Internet to share. Obviously, many would benefit by receiving $free WiFi. As many as also connect to the Internet via some other means might be persuaded now that really high speeds are available making sharing not noticeably affecting performance. I think all it would take is adding up the costs and benefits. I think it’s doable.
Are there any show-stopping costs? I think the biggest might be the odd situation where a WiFi access point gets overloaded. That’s likely to be in commercial areas rather than residential so it may well be a net benefit to business requiring some shift in the way business is done. Many ISPs now do this, with users who subscribe at home to the ISP getting $free WiFi on the road. That’s getting close to unconditional $free WiFi.
Another problem could be the scalability of WiFi as a standard means of connecting to the Internet. Even in my small schools there was always the issue of channel-separation and coverage. Making WiFi available even when it’s obviously desirable is not easy. We’ve often read of conferences having lagging WiFi simply because there aren’t enough channels or bandwidth. Routers I’ve used can please just a few people at a time. How does one make WiFi scalable so that’s never an issue? Time to go back to the drawing board or shut down huge concentrations of people… That’s not freedom, so it’s back to the drawing board.