Baby Bells fight to outlaw free Wi-Fi

| 11/23/2004

Three of the nation’s largest former Bell telephone companies – Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest – are pushing for legislation that would bar cities from offering Wi-Fi Web access for free, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The movement toward free Wi-Fi has been gaining momentum. Philadelphia is the largest city to date to announce it would offer free wireless access (using a combination of Wi-Fi and a newer technology called Wi-Max), but other smaller cities – such as Cerritos, CA – have already started initiatives.

In addition, a number of states, including Texas and Iowa, plan to offer the service free at rest areas.

The Journal reported that a bill in Pennsylvania would outlaw a Wi-Fi offering by any “political subdivision.”