Pros and Cons of Government Subsidized Internet?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by hotwire132002, Mar 9, 2006.

  1. hotwire132002 macrumors 65816


    Jan 24, 2004
    Cadillac, MI
    I'm doing some research on the pros and cons of government subsidized internet. I haven't had much luck with Google, so I figured someone here might have an opinion on the subject.

    Government subsidized internet is, from my understanding (and PLEASE correct me if I'm wrong!) internet provided to the citizens by the government. For instance, I belive they recently turned a suburb of Detroit into a giant hotspot -- the city is providing wireless internet access to the citizens.

    As to pros and cons --

    Some obvious pros would seem to be the fact that the government is providing internet to everyone, so that would mean no more $40 per month for cable internet.
    Also, you'd have internet everywhere you go - not just at WiFi hotspots. For people like me, that's a huge plus -- a lot of work I do is very dependant on internet access, and as such it's very handy to be able to simply open my laptop and connect.

    I could see a major con being taxes -- Even though we wouldn't be paying a cable internet bill, the government would, and that would likely get tacked on to our taxes.

    Also, making a city one giant WiFi hotspot could provide security issues. Because the city would essentially be a giant LAN, it would be very easy for someone to access your computer - especially if you had something like file sharing enabled.

    Sorry for the long post, but I guess what I'm asking here is --

    What do you think of the subject? Do you agree with my opinion as to pros and cons? Do you have any other pros or cons you could think of?

    I'd like to see other peoples' stance on the subject. :)
  2. DeeJay Dan macrumors member

    Feb 28, 2006
    New York
    I don't have any links for you. Wired recently had some articles about city-wide WiFi. I've read an article or two where a company was rolling out city wide free WiFi. (I think the last one I read about google beta testing it) That in and of itself creates all kinds of privacy issues. Since we're talking about GI WiFi I'll stay on topic. :)

    The main concern for me with government supplied WiFi is I'm sure they will be monitoring most of it with out our knowledge. I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't like my internet access being monitored even though I'm not doing anything wrong.

    A second concern is as you touched upon, How much is it going to cost the taxpayers? Are non "govnet" users going to be charged extra too? Mostly likely yes. How much is it all going to cost in the end? The government notourously over spends. Is what would what be charged extra going to be more in the end than paying subscription fee to an ISP or for hotspot access? That's depends on the individual user.

    Thirdly, WiFi can be set up for access only and not to share files between computers so that isn't much of an issue. Even if it was you should be smart enough to setup a firewall to protect your computer.

    After those primary concerns comes the rest. How stable is it going to be? Is there a guarnetee of service? Who is actually piping in the bandwidth? Another one of my concerns would be what going to happen to all those paid hotspots? They're all going to be shut down because the government is giving it away free. What happens to the families who depended on their business to support them? There is many other concerns that I'm not going to drag out in this post.

    Bottomline it's a far off thing, the US government is historically slow in catching up with technology. As for me the end user who uses the net everyday for all kinds of things I'd drop my cable connection in a second if I could get a reliable WiFi connection for "free".

    Just my thoughts,

  3. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Censorship. If the government has control of the internet, who knows what they'd prevent us from seeing.
  4. treblah macrumors 65816


    Oct 28, 2003
    That would be my main concern. Just figure how long it takes to patch a pothole and times that by 100.

    Then you have to take into account the idiot teenagers going around and vandalizing the antennas. :rolleyes:

    yg17, not trying to be the 'tinfoil hat guy' but I'm pretty sure the gov't could take down the fiber backbones in the US anytime they wanted.
  5. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    True, but it would be a lot easier if they had complete control over it.
  6. theBB macrumors 68020


    Jan 3, 2006
    What makes you think they don't monitor it now? Just because you pay for it? Don't they require all ISPs to install machines that can monitors basic info such as "To, From, Subject" fields of emails?

    Internet is not a basic need such as education or health care. I'd rather pick my service provider based on customer service, price, features etc. It'd be extremely hard for a private company to compete with the government, so we'd probably be left with whatever level of service government decides to provide.

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