Internet Access – Right Or Freedom?

“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 today’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 departments
Malta 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.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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9 Responses to Internet Access – Right Or Freedom?

  1. dougman wrote, “The “theory” of man made global warming has no facts, no evidence, no peer reviewed factual presentation that man is changing the climate on the planet.”

    This is pure ignorance. Burning fossil fuels does produce CO2. Our rate of production far exceeds the rate at which Nature is absorbing it by photosynthesis and solution into oceans. CO2 is a large molecule compared to O2 and N2, the major constituents of the atmosphere. It’s like filling the sky with balloons to turn the atmosphere into a more effective greenhouse. So, there is a rational basis for this. It’s not conjecture or wishful thinking. There is no question about global warming except the magnitude and how high we can safely allow the CO2 levels to rise. I think we’ve already exceeded a safe level. If you’re not going to figure out how to avoid pumping CO2 into the atmosphere by burning fossil fuel you need to figure out how to remove it. Planting trees can help but how many trees does Trump’s EPA plan to plant, eh? Trump’s EPA will be run by a global warming denier so it’s not likely. Another four years delaying facing up to reality is coming. Why ruin Earth for our grand kids?

    dougman wrote, “Pogsey want’s you to believe that this 0.04% of the atmosphere controls the Earths climate, which is ignorant.”

    Do the maths. What’s the cross-section for CO2 to reflect infrared? Compared to the other gases? It’s huge. It’s tuned about right in the same way that microwave ovens resonate with water molecules. There it’s used to absorb heat but the greenhouse gases reflect heat while allowing a lot of other wavelengths in from Sun. If dougman believes 400 ppm is safe, what value does he think is unsafe and what will he do to prevent that level being reached? Nothing is not a good answer.

    2-300ppm was enough to end the ice-ages. What the Hell will 400 ppm do when there’s no ice-age to end?

  2. dougman says:

    Only an idiot would increase their own taxes by taxing a fuel, that does nothing to harm the environment.

    It is the Global Warming Cultists (Pogsey) that are getting scared. They have no real factual evidence to back their claims about Global Warming/Change The “theory” of man made global warming has no facts, no evidence, no peer reviewed factual presentation that man is changing the climate on the planet. It is a grand wealth transfer scheme that would make the old Communist/Marxists drool with envy. That is all it is.

    Carbon Dioxide is 400 PPM, or just 0.04% of the atmosphere. Pogsey want’s you to believe that this 0.04% of the atmosphere controls the Earths climate, which is ignorant. But it gets worse. Humans only produce 3% of the atmospheric CO2, or 0.012%, which they claim is controlling, therefore….


    But it gets worse. This “magic gas” also controls the temperature of 310,000 cubic miles of ocean with an average temperature of 4C and 259 billion cubic miles of mostly molten rock at 2000C. But it gets worse. This is three sided debate and every “denier/skeptic” you know agrees with the goofy back radiation warming hypothesis.


  3. dougman wrote, “Trudeau is taking away your freedom, with all the carbon taxes being dumped on you.”

    That’s just silly. We elected Trudeau to be our PM by voting Liberal. It’s not a loss of freedom when we chose to go that way. Despite my not having voted that way, I support the idea of taxing hydrocarbons. Regardless of climate change, it’s just a bad idea to burn hydrocarbons because we are burning them at a far greater rate than we can possibly replace. That’s crazy. The tax will steer the market in the right direction. I’ve made choices like that on my own over much of my life: smaller calibre rifles instead of magnums, 4 cylinder cars instead of 8, 6 cylinder truck instead of 8, wood heat for the home we built, geothermal heating here and now I’m looking at an EV. I’m losing no freedom from the tax, none. If I want to buy another internal combustion engine I still can but I will include the higher cost of fuel in the decision just as if the supply of oil set the price. It’s all good.

    In USA, there are states contemplating a carbon tax. One neat idea to help adoption is making the tax “revenue neutral”, ie. cutting other taxes to offset the carbon tax. That makes it much more palatable and should still make it effective. People would still have the freedom to choose various means of transportation/energy that could legally avoid the carbon tax. If other taxes are reduced at the same time there is a double incentive to accept the idea for those who can use less carbon, and that’s just about everyone.

  4. dougman says:

    “Those guys formed governments that took away freedom ”

    Trudeau is taking away your freedom, with all the carbon taxes being dumped on you. Americans would never put up with that but Canadians are a bunch of wimps, so eh.

  5. dougman wrote, “you did”.

    You stated “government ≠ freedom”. Those guys formed governments that took away freedom but other governments restored freedom. I’d say government and freedom are orthogonal, not unequal. That’s comparing apples and oranges.

  6. dougman says:

    “Ah, so, you believe Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito won…”

    Never stated that, you did.

    So according to you, Trump is literally Hitler.

  7. dougman wrote, “Government ≠ Freedom”.

    Ah, so, you believe Hitler, Mussolini and Hirohito won… Governments united against those thieves of freedom. Of course those tyrants used government to take away freedom. Wise participation in government is the best guarantor of freedom possible. Mobs like Hitler’s or Trump’s can take away freedom but citizens taking care in their choices of reps can do it right.

  8. dougman says:

    Government ≠ Freedom

  9. ram says:

    Malta is a small country, filled with very wealthy people. They certainly could implement free fast Internet access and they would become even wealthier. Think of them as kind of a maritime Switzerland and you’d have a reasonable mental model.

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