Alexandria,VA, Offers Free Outdoor WiFi Access

Is free wireless internet access a useful amenity that a city can provide, or does it only cater to "very affluent techno elites?"

"This week, Alexandria began providing free wireless Internet access in its historic center, the first local government to offer alfresco Web surfing at no charge...the city wants to provide a luxury amenity to its residents while testing a system it could use for more prosaic municipal tasks, such as monitoring traffic. And it's great public relations.

n providing free wireless, Alexandria and other cities -- dozens of which have existing wireless Internet hubs -- in some cases have raised the ire of private network providers. Verizon recently tried to block Philadelphia's $10 million effort to connect the entire city.

David P. McClure, the president of the U.S. Internet Industry Association, said many municipalities waste taxpayer money when they provide such networks because they are used only by 'very affluent techno elites.'"

Thanks to Eric

Full Story: The Web Is in the Air

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