Wi-Fi as a Public Good

by on October 29, 2004 · 6 comments

The New Deal-esque “chicken-in-every-pot” mentality continues to win converts in municipal government circles. Yesterday, San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom said the city will now seek to provide free wireless Internet access for the entire public. “No San Franciscan should be without a computer and a broadband connection,” he said.

We’ve had numerous rants about this issue here before, so I won’t get into what’s wrong about this thinking. In fact, I think I’m just going to give up an get on the gravy train of high-tech entitlements. Toward that end, I’m starting a list of all the freebees that I think I have an inalienable right to FREE-OF-CHARGE from government. I think I’m entitled to:

* free broadband (both fiber and Wi-Max, thank you very much);
* a free computer (and a really fast one, damnit!);
* 3 free HDTVs for my home (including one of those sweet new DLP or LCOS projectors that usually cost about $10,000 bucks. And I’ll need you to pay for someone to help me install it.);
* 3 free new TiVO recorders;
* a free subscription to DirecTV (with all the premium channels and sports packages… and don’t forget the Playboy Channel!);
* a free lifetime subscription to NetFlix;
* free internal wi-fi for my home;
* free cell phone service; and,
* free tech support when all this crap breaks down.

Hey, it’s all FREE when the government provides it, right? So why not load up on tech entitlements and give the public all these gadgets and services that they are clearly entitled to under the plain language of the Constitution. Clearly there’s some language in there about all this stuff being a birthright entitlement. God I love Big Government.

  • http://kipesquire.blogspot.com KipEsquire

    There is way too much overthinking going on here. Wireless internet access is not a public good (it’s perfectly excludable). There is therefore no justification whatsoever for it to be publicly provided. Those concerned about wireless Internet access for the poor (besides having severe priority issues) should consider vouchers or a comparable program.

  • http://kipesquire.blogspot.com KipEsquire

    There is way too much overthinking going on here. Wireless internet access is not a public good (it’s perfectly excludable). There is therefore no justification whatsoever for it to be publicly provided. Those concerned about wireless Internet access for the poor (besides having severe priority issues) should consider vouchers or a comparable program.

  • Stephen

    Stop being silly with that list of “entitlements.” I mean, seriously, why should the government provide you with a Netflix subscription when you don’t have a DVD player on your list???

  • Stephen

    Stop being silly with that list of “entitlements.” I mean, seriously, why should the government provide you with a Netflix subscription when you don’t have a DVD player on your list???

  • Merle Haggard

    Don’t forget free Bubble Up, and maybe some rainbow stew.

  • Merle Haggard

    Don’t forget free Bubble Up, and maybe some rainbow stew.

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