The race to be the first with wi-fi citywide

…and the winner is Taipei, Taiwan. Taipei just this summer completed its citywide wi-fi network of 4000 hot spots (wi-fi transmitters) covering 90% of its 2.6 million residents. The major reason for the unprecedented wi-fi investment? To reduce traffic on city roads, says the city’s mayor.

Yes, there still isn’t a single major U.S. city with comprehensive wi-fi, though many are talking about it, with San Francisco apparently taking the lead (promising citywide wi-fi by year’s end). Boston’s will come a year or so later, but will be the first to be a city-based, nonprofit, wholesale network not controlled by private interests. This could prove to be a breakthrough…

The main hold up in the U.S. is that the major telecom companies want to control the infrastructure. It’s like if GM in the 1940s did everything they could to prevent city governments from building roads because GM wanted the auto industry to themselves. GM was smarter than that, and instead lobbied the U.S. to enact the infamous 1956 Highway Act that initiated the freeway system we have today. It seems ironic that the Verizons of today don’t see the same logic for taking their industry beyond what even GM ever dreamed it would be back then. This is where global competition comes in handy…

Typical response found on the internet when it was announced two years ago that Taipei was implementing city-wide wi-fi: “Amazing! I’m heading to Taiwan :)” Soon enough, that’ll include San Francisco and Boston.

  • Zippy

    Great Topic. Its obvious to everyone that WI-Fi access to entire cities benefit everybody from the corporate types, entrepeneurs, students, even regular surfers. It just seems that silly greed is holding this back. More reasons why I can’t stand the telecoms…………