Shared Community WiFi Networking Blog From A Toronto Co-op ISP

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Toronto Hydro: There's No Free Lunch, and No Free Network

Lots about our town's WiFi in the news these days!

Prof. Andrew Clement from the University of Toronto, who has worked with Wireless Nomad almost since the beginning through the CWIRP, had lots to say about the Toronto Hydro WiFi project in a Toronto Star Op-Ed piece titled "How long will Toronto's wireless network be free?" (Good question! Funny, tho'-- taxpayers have already put in a couple of million for a "free" WiFi network... -DF) (Written with Mr Graham Longford.)

From the article:

" While we applaud Toronto Hydro Telecom for the bold vision and ambitious scope of this project, the plan to treat it as a commercial, profit-making business seriously undermines its potential as an innovative public service bringing widespread benefits to Torontonians.

When completed in three years it will blanket the entire city with high-speed wireless Internet service. Regrettably, by then it will no longer be free; Toronto Hydro Telecom plans to make users pay $29 a month for a subscription, or just under $400 a year. Instead of us reaping the benefits of a rightfully universal and affordable public service, THT will be raking in profits to be turned over to Toronto Hydro and, ultimately, the City of Toronto — its sole shareholder.

We believe the commercialization of THT's WiFi service wastes a golden opportunity for the city to be truly innovative, and violates Toronto Hydro's public interest obligations as a city-owned utility. That city council and Mayor David Miller have given their blessing to THT's approach makes this an issue for political debate."

LINK to Star article/


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