Wi-fi rights

Published: Tuesday 15 November 2005

Municipal Control us cities

A growing number of cities in the us are treating high-speed internet as a basic amenity. In the second week of October, Philadelphia, thrust itself onto the technological frontline by announcing plans to build the biggest municipal wireless internet system in the country. The 350-square kilometre network will be built and managed by the Atlanta-based Earthlink, and will offer low-income residents service for about us $10 a month.

A clutch of other cities are hoping to follow suit with free or low-cost services aimed at reconnecting poor communities and growing businesses. In the first week of November, San Francisco municipality will announce the results of its call for tenders to provide wireless service to the city's 750,000 inhabitants. The city's mayor Gavin Newsom said: "It is long overdue. Internet-access is to me a fundamental right. It's integral to the right to information".

But these plans might run into rough weather. Pending in the us Congress, is a bill sponsored by the Republican legislator, Pete Sessions. This bill aims to ban cities from building municipal broadband networks.

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