Another Telco Says Muni WiFi Is OK Only If It's Providing It

from the le-hypocrisy dept

Telcos' resistance to municipal WiFi broadband projects is pretty well documented, but it's been interesting to see how their position changes once they realize they can make some money from running the muni networks. Over in France, the country's incumbent operator, France Telecom, has filed a legal challenge to Paris' plan to roll out free hotspots (via MuniWireless), saying they will illegally compete with its network of 2,250 paid hotspots in the city. This argument has been made before in Europe, like in Barcelona, where the city was forced to shut down its hotspots after a similar complaint -- even though they blocked access to everything except 60 sites with city information and services. What makes France Telecom's suit even more ridiculous is that its mobile phone unit, Orange, bid on the tender to provide the service for the city. Now, after it's lost out, the company cries foul.


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  1.  
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    Overcast, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 2:26pm

    The cities should just shut off all their access through those ISPs. Start up their own peering agreements and roll out their own internet service.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 3:05pm

    It is getting to the point where Internet access is similar to road access. I know in Utah they've been testing out having cable paid for by taxes in some areas to increase bandwidth and provide more widespread internet access. Upside is this means 'free' internet (just like 'free' roads), downside it is easier for the gov to filter what you can access.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Anonymous Coward

    Thats very interesting. I live in Utah aswell and hadn't heard about this at all. Could you be more specific where these test cases are going on? Or atleast point me to some articles.

    Thanks

     

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  4.  
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    Shalkar, Jul 13th, 2007 @ 6:59pm

    My Opinion is:

    A tax that would mean I could "possibly" even get Internet 2 sooner? Hell yeah! Just as long as it's not outrageous... and so long as it doesn't get abused as opposed to used properly like the road tax I pay.

    As far as "illegal" competion: The government as ultimate authority. I think they're government should reply with a gigantic, "F.U.",! After all, I think that there should be wireless internet EVERYWHERE and then if you want the always faster and more reliable hard line, THEN you pay ISPs. A hard line will ALWAYS be better than wireless. That's just how it is. It may even be a insignificant difference to most, but it's still there. Ever play a FPS with a wireless keyboard and/or mouse? It tends to suck, because you have that momentary/split second delay. It's just enough to do one over on ya.

    Of course it matters more than just to gamers, but I think it's pretty safe to say that other than tech type people who just want that high speed, the people who probably use broadband the most are gamers. At least until they work out the whole downloading movies B.S. *cough* Never gonna happen! * cough*

     

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  5.  
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    Dav, Jul 15th, 2007 @ 1:08am

    I live in a free wifi zone which is less then great. For the very reason stated in the article it can only provide a 256k connection for 30 minutes by law so that it does not compete with paid services.

    Seems like a nice way to put a wall in the way of technolical advancement, espicially in a world where our technology needs and becomeing cheaper whilst usage increaces.

    Projects like this are the ideal way to take everyone to the hyperconnected age, not just those with the spare cash to spend on the rediculas mobile data charges the networks expect you to pay.

    This model is also unhelth for competition. Allowing the free service to compete would force networks to reduce costs and improve services to form an attractive alternative worth paying for which in turn would further advance the mobile internet technologies required for this sort of thing.

     

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  6.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jul 16th, 2007 @ 5:29am

    Muni WiFi and the Free Market

     

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  7.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jul 16th, 2007 @ 5:46am

    Muni WiFi and the Free Market

    Accidentally hit the submit button. Anyway, we live in a free market system. This means that a local municipality has as much "right" as a private company to compete in the free market. If a private company can't compete, too bad.

    When discussing the economics of local governments providing a service private firms through out the "red herring" that this is uncompetitive, stifles free markets, and is a misuse of tax dollars. This is hogwash.

    1. It is not anticompetitive, it is competition. If you can't compete too bad.

    2. It does not stifle the free market. The local municipality will be buying all their equipment from private enterprises. The only "place" private industry "losses" is in providing the service.

    3. It is not a misuse of tax dollars. First, if the residents of a local community want a subsided WiFi system it is their right. Private industry does not have a right to limit how you wish to spend your money. Second, private industry plays the subsidy game all the time. A large corporation, such as AT&T, can charge higher rates in one area to subsidize a service in an area where they are trying to increase market share. Once they have a monopoly, up go the rates.

    In conclusion, the participation of a local government in the free market system is part of the game.

     

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  8.  
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    Unknowledgeable Geek, Jul 16th, 2007 @ 8:31am

    Re: Muni WiFi and the Free Market

    Try telling Bill Gates that:

    "The only "place" private industry "loses" is in providing the service."

    Isn't that were a lot of "service" orientated business earn their profit? Or am I just imagining things?

     

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  9.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jul 17th, 2007 @ 5:50am

    Re: Re: Muni WiFi and the Free Market

    Maybe the word "loses" is not the best word. The phrase that that "... orientated business earn their profit ..." while true misses a fundamental point. If their is a profit to be made, a local government in a free market should be able to compete for that profit. Private companies do not have a "right" to profit, they must compete. In theory, if the local government makes a profit at providing a service, the local government can reinvest the money locally and the citizens of that community could benefit through lower taxes.

     

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