United Way To Build Wireless In Poor Neighborhoods – And Then Charge For Access

We’ve had stories in the past about organizations providing WiFi connections in poor neighborhoods to help get people there onto the internet. Now the United Way is trying to do the same thing by setting up some access points in West Philly. However, I’m a bit surprised that they’ve decided to charge for those hotspots. They’re charging less than the commercial hotspot providers, but this is a project that screams out for free WiFi. If commercial WiFi providers are finding it nearly impossible to sign up regular customers, just imagine what the United Way will find in low income areas. I’m not sure what they hope to recoup by charging for the WiFi, but it won’t be much, and it will only act to limit the number of people who use the service. If they’re really trying to get people onto the internet, it makes no sense for them to charge a monthly fee.

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