"Access to Tech is like Access to Books"


dcstone writes "The Washington Post reports that the Washington, D.C. city government has launched an effort to bring wireless Internet access to the District, with an emphasis on serving those with the least ability to gain access to the Internet.

"Access to technology is like access to books: it's an important medium of communication and learning and opportunity," Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said yesterday in an interview. "Other cities are doing it and I want our city doing it too.""


This is one of the reasons why I don't get all the talk about charging for different levels of internet access. If cities start offering free access then who can control how any one person gets online?

Most of the talk I've heard is about differential pricing for service quality--that is, seeing to it that packets from some $-paying sites get higher priority than "ordinary" packets. For VOIP or video-over-internet, high service quality is pretty important. Some of the more rapacious telco/cable execs think they can levy charges on all commercial internet senders, with "senders" being the relevant word. Otherwise, well, you still pay more if you want really high-speed access, and that's likely to continue.