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Free Public Wi-Fi in Los Gatos? FCC Proposal Could Pit Google Against Cell Carriers

The federal government wants to bring fast, powerful—and free—Internet connections to communities across the nation.

The Federal Communications Commission has proposed a plan that would create super Wi-Fi networks all around the country—and threaten the viability of big-name cell-phone carriers and Internet providers.

But not all tech companies are against the FCC's plan. Microsoft and Mountain View-based Google are spending top dollars to lobby in support of the plan, according to a report in The Washington Post, because they believe free Wi-Fi would help drive further innovation and provide a market for more gadgets.

Cellular carriers are not as supportive. The Post reports that the FCC wants to buy airwaves that are more powerful than a typical household Wi-Fi connection, making it possible that people could opt out of traditional cell phone coverage and home Internet service.

The Los Gatos Library offers free Wi-Fi service to its patrons and a multitude of local businesses also provide Internet access at no cost.

Even if it's approved by the FCC, The Post says the new network would still take several years to implement. And it's unclear how reliable the connection would be in urban areas, where many people might be using the free Wi-Fi system at the same time.

Do you think government-provided Wi-Fi would be good for Los Gatos? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments section below.

AR February 17, 2013 at 06:53 PM
to hell with verizon, comcast and at&t. they've been granted a virtual monopoly on telco infrastructure and as a result the US has a network that is more expensive but less powerful than what is available in most other industrialized nations. not only should we explore municipal wifi, but also gigabit-class fiber.
Esmée St James February 18, 2013 at 04:36 AM
Yes to free public WiFi, the service from the Verizon internet monopoly is not at all up to par around here.

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