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Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Wi-Fi is a Civil Rights Issue

--posted by Tony Garcia on 10/04/2005

In a continuous pattern of diminishing the meaning of Civil Rights the mayor of San Francisco has declared that among the right to vote is a "fundamental right" to wireless internet connections.
Wireless access can be seen a basic right that should be available not just to business professionals but also lower-income citizens. "This is a civil rights issue as much as anything else," Newsom said.

The mayor said he had no exact figures on how much it would cost to build a wireless umbrella to cover the entire city, but cited general estimates that have ranged from $8 million to $16 million for antennas and other gear.
Yep, somehow the rights fought over by Martin Luther King includes internet access.
Wi-Fi is a short-range wireless technology that is now built into most laptop computers and is increasingly offered on handheld computers and certain mobile phones. Local officials are mulling plans to blanket every nook and cranny of this hilly city of 750,000 residents with Wi-Fi access.

"This is inevitable -- Wi-Fi. It is long overdue," Newsom told a news conference at San Francisco's City Hall. "It is to me a fundamental right to have access universally to information," he said.
Now I may not understand the technology but this next quote is entertaining.
But the mayor also singled out the power of Wi-Fi as an alternative network to provide emergency information to all citizens in the event a natural disaster such as an earthquake were to strike the city and knock out other communications.
In the event of such emergency is it not possible that power would be knocked in a substantial portion of the city? Doesn't wi-fi (or at least the computers to get those signals)?

So, if wi-fi is a "fundamental right" in a "civil rights issue" does that mean computers (to recieve the wi-fi signal) is also a fundamental right?

Ah, the absence of logic in the liberal mind.

********** UPDATE **********
Will the "fundamental right" to wi-fi also extend to airplanes? Currently it is deemed too expensive for airplanes. This story says
For now, Wi-Fi remains rare, with fewer than 1 percent of commercial aircraft offering it. It is expensive- $9.95 an hour - on the Boeing plan.

But for it to really take off, the airlines will need to make it pay.

"Do the math," said Terry Wiseman, an expert on in-flight technology. "If the technology were there just for the benefit of passengers, the numbers just wouldn't add up."

He is right. To the estimated $500,000 to $600,000 it will cost to fit a plane with wireless technology, add the revenue lost in the two weeks the installation will keep the aircraft on the ground. And the current systems are heavy, causing the planes to consume more fuel. With demand for the service estimated to be about 20 percent of all passengers, Mr. Wiseman and other industry watchers say it will be impossible for airlines to squeeze a profit out of onboard Wi-Fi

This is a Civil Rights issue for passengers, too.


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