Sunday, March 12, 2006

DC Government to Offer Internet Service

Many cities have been jumping on the wireless Internet bandwagon, often providing free service to residents in public areas such as parks or municipal buildings. Oftentimes such service is provided by a friendly company or a business improvement association, such as the Dupont Circle WiFi that is provided by TechAssist LLC, but many municipalities are getting into the game as well. Our across-the-Potomac friends in Arlington, VA offer free Internet access at Courthouse Plaza, just outside of the Arlington municipal complex at the Courthouse Metro station.

In that vein, Mayor Williams has proposed to offer free wireless Internet access throughout the city, but with a twist. In an attempt to help bridge the so-called digital divide, the mayor would like to focus the service on low-income residents of the District.

Williams said he was not worried that some areas might get left out. "I think there is sufficient market incentive to serve the other areas of the city. The problem is there isn't sufficient market incentive to serve the lowest-income parts of our city, and that's what I am trying to do here."

The government has stated that the solution need not be WiFi, although the sheer quantity of cheap hardware in that area should make it a no-brainer. Also, in a smart move, the service will run over the DC government's internal fiber network to a backbone, thus helping keep the build-out costs down.

Personally, I think this is a fantastic idea. While a neighborhood as thriving as ours might not get service right away, the chances are good that we already have the means at our disposal to get our digital fix.

1 comment:

cbmurda said...

SWEET! Downtown Silver Sprung also already has wireless, finally this movement is making its way to the district.