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Re: <nettime> Community WiFi in UK and Germany, a round-up
Morlock Elloi on Fri, 19 Oct 2007 05:12:53 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> Community WiFi in UK and Germany, a round-up

BTW, I never said that self-made infrastructures are a bad idea. I complained
about sapping of the general angst with feel-good "solutions" which ultimately
do nothing but reinforce the established system. 

I think it's important to distinguish two issues here:

1 - free access for all to Internet as it is, and

2 - alternative fully-connected inter-net without governmental or commercial

They are somewhat connected, as you can have free access (but not to Internet)
if you have (2), but these are essentially separate issues.

I don't really want to discuss (1) ... some people feed pigeons, some don't.
There are too many on the Internet already, and I'm not holding my breath
waiting for some genius from Kazahstan or urban ghetto currently without access
to be wired and elevate the general Internet experience. It's more likely that
the net result will be that filtering out the shit will become more expensive.
Personally, I'd rather give kazahstanis and ghetto dwellers free espresso. It's
more empowering and less enslaving.

But (2) is far more interesting. It has potential to make big impact and life
more interesting. Selfish as I am, I'm looking forward to the first year on
this inter-net, where the amount of intelligence and interesting people will
probably equal that of mid 90s, before unwashed retards discover it. Will it
happen? Will the exclusivity, the knowledge that your packets are being
switched in a special way, that there is no yahoo or google there, be
impressive enough? I don't know. Maybe it's too late. 

Perhaps the critical amount of (1) will be an incentive to make real tries at
(2). But my understanding is that all implementations of (1) just deal with the
last mile to/from the classic Internet, and there is no specially-experienced
intra-traffic. Without that, the built-in expectation of the full
interoperability with Internet will prevent (2) from ever happening.

And something unrelated, which was missed in the previous discussions: the most
important reason for the general failure of free city wi-fi is that it would
seriously compete with mobile operators. There were already prototypes of
handheld VoIP phones with wifi connectivity being tested, target price was
around $100, and with the current price structure of VoIP providers, it would
cost $15/month for unlimited use. Mobile operators cannot let it happen. And
the reduced amount of collected extor... taxes would seriously impact local
governments as well.

> hi mr morlock elloi
> I like that, good level of aggro and contestational spirit. finally
> someone speaks up against the myth of self-made infrastructures, they
> are never a good idea, unless they cover the whole globe, innit? and
> it was long overdue to bash up those community wifi-ers and their
> municipial siblings. it will all end up in google's hands and data
> vaults anyway, yes?

(of original message)

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