WIRELESSNETWORKS AND PERVASIVE COMPUTING
Freeinternet access in public spaces is essential for governments thatwish to promote economic growth, public safety, enhance efficiency ingovernment operations, communications and as an overall strategy ofsaving costs. Although some cities have been able toimplement the Wi-Fi project effectively,free wireless internet is faced with myriads of problems and manymunicipalities have not been successful in tapping its benefits. Inparticular, the main problem of Wi-Fi internet is used by everyoneand much of the frequency spectrum is absorbed by the surroundingenvironment thereby limiting its coverage area. Wi-Fi deployment islimited in its signal capacity for expansive areas due to frequencyinterference from other devices in the environment and as suchrequires dense and widespread deployment in order to be effective(Andy, 2009).
Inaddition, the installation of Wi-Fi is associated with high costs ofmaintenance and less effective than other forms of internet unlessdense installation is done. However, government owned Wi-Fi are morereliability, affordable and effective especially in areas where otherforms of communication may not be effective, and the private sectoris unwilling to invest. In addition, government owned free internetaccess is important in crime surveillance in public spaces andenhancing government operation efficiency in times of emergencies(Lynnette,2009).As such, despite hurdles associated with Wi-Fi installation andeffective, the state governments should peruse free internetinstallation in public places as an important strategy of ensuringpublic safety and efficiency in government operations. In this casethe government needs to collaborate with the private telephone andcable companies in ensuring the sustainability of the Wi-Fi projects.
Freemunicipal broadband initiatives are gaining popularity across theworld today, and local governments need to embrace this move. Openpublic internet access is an important aspect of enhancing technologydiffusion, innovativeness and economic development. The installationof Wi-Fi network is relatively cheap unlike in the olden days, due tohigh demand and large scale production of Wi-Fi chipsets.Furthermore, Wi-Fi installation makes use of existing assets in theenvironment such as building and power posts making it effectiveantenna sites for the wireless signals. The interoperability anddigital inclusion of Wi-Fi technology have made it popular fuellingits spread and integration with other technological devices in themarket. Most municipal wireless networks are operated by localauthorities or in some cases under the public-private agreement(Andy,2009).
Althoughthere is a perception that municipal operated wireless internetoffers safe computing landscape for a wide range of users, it isfaced with management problems and prone to internet insecurity.However, there are positive results of free municipal internet likeit is the case in Bristol City the Wi-Fi project succeeded becausethe authorities initiated the rural open space network to respond togenuine needs of farmers’ education. Valuable lessons learned fromthese projects are that, the installation of Wi-Fi is important andpossible when effective plans are put in place. In addition,Municipals needs to collaborate with the private sector in improvingin efficiency of public internet installation. In the same line,Wi-Fi should not be free as such and local citizens should be chargeda significant amount to enhance project maintenance and its overallsustainability (Christopher,2010).
Inthis case, the installation and management of the free municipalWi-Fi should not be left to the government as management andregulatory measures tends to derail internet deployment. The rules ofcommerce and internet should be left to form a collective action fromthe private sector (Christopher,2010).While most conservatives think that municipals government should beleft to manage local Wi-Fi in ensuring affordable and secure freeinternet access in public places, the government lacks the technologysuaveness and management needed to ensure sustainable free internetaccess in public spaces(Lynnette, 2009).However, existing evidence on private company’s broadband internetprovision indicates that they have also failed in providing hi-techand improved network in some towns and rural areas (Andy,2009).The local government funded municipal internet installation isrelatively expensive and building municipal networks entails greatfinancial risks to the local governments. For instance, if clientdemands reduce and subsequent returns, taxpayers would be forced tocover the deficit of running the project.
Localgovernment should enlist the support of private companies in ensuringthe smooth running of public internet installations as a way ofcosts savings, enhancing greater accountability, responsiveness tochanging consumer needs and improving the overall quality of servicedelivery in the public sector. In this case, the provision of Wi-Fineeds to be achieved through public/private partnership in order toensure project sustainability. The government role should beproviding the basic infrastructure necessary for internet connectionwhile the private companies should be left to manage and install theWi-Fi in the municipalities(Christopher, 2010).
Mostmunicipal broadband utilities fail due to the costs of constructionsthat exist and cost burdens involved in the running of the projects. In this way, government financial risks will be minimized, and thesustainability of the project would be enhanced by collaborating withthe private sector. Another major reason the municipal internetprojects have failed as there is stiff competition from the privatecable and telephone companies that slows down efforts by the localgovernment Wi-Fi proposals (Christopher,2010).In some municipalities, most private companies spend heavily incampaigns aimed at defeating the municipal broadband proposals andeven when the proposals are approved lawsuits derail the projects.
Publicopen space internet is paramount and cannot be wished away in thecontemporary world where technology diffusion and innovation isexpanding. Public internet access is essential as part of ensuringpublic safety and improving government operations in times ofemergencies. However, municipalization of broadband network is not agood idea and requires the collaboration efforts of the privatecompanies to enhance the sustainability of Wi-Fi projects.
Althoughpublic internet has many social, economic benefits associated with itespecially in curbing crime and useful in times of emergencies,municipal ownership of the network broadband goes against theinterest of local businesses and the residents. The main issue whymost municipal Wi-Fi has failed is not due to availability orcoverage but largely due to price costs associated with it. Localgovernment should only provide the necessary technologicalinfrastructure, and legal framework to enhance the security of theinternet access but allow private companies invest in the publicinternets. In this way, the effectiveness of Wi-Fi would beguaranteed.
AndyO. (2009). Municipal Broadband Efforts Succeed Despite Wi-FiMeltdown. PublicCIO. Retrieved August 27, 2014 fromhttp://www.govtech.com/pcio/Municipal-Broadband-Efforts-Succeed-Despite-Wi-Fi.html.
ChristopherM. (2010). Where`s All the Free Wi-Fi We Were Promised? TechnologyReview. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from
LynnetteL. (2009). A Municipal Wi-Fi Model That Actually Works. UrgentCommunications. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from