Tuesday, October 04, 2005


The Google model for WIFI in San Francisco is the way it ought to be. The plan is for medium speed WIFI to be available to all "free of charge". Can you imagine the goodwill power companies would generate by offering the first $20 per month of electricity free to all households! The kilowatt rate for all over $20 would have to be higher. This is a profit making idea not a socialistic idea. Free enterprise should dictate that goods and services be priced in the best way possible. Basic necessities, such as phone service, electricity and WIFI service should always be available to all citizens. Making the price progressive would make more money for the providers and it would encourage conservation. Even health insurance should be automatic!

Wow! Has this conservative Republican lost his mind?

>Everyone who drives a car is required to buy liability car insurance. Everyone who lives should be required to set aside money to cover health care. The money should be paid into a health savings plan. This money would be available to the depositor for any health care needs. It should be invested until it is needed. If the account grows very large and the owner also has catastrophic insurance coverage then the excess funds would become available for retirement, college tuition or other purposes.

Because this money belongs to individuals who make the decisions in regard to health services, health care expenditures would be more carefully decided. Just like the idea that electricity, phone and WIFI basics should be free, the government should deposit the first $20 per month for all citizens. All citizens, those with or without a job would have an account growing in their name. The government would no longer need to spend billions to administer complicated Medicaid and Medicare programs. The idea is like the idea in industry to move all decision making down the line to the persons who know best. Only a mother, father or individual should make the decision to have extra tesst run, or not.

Obviously, I have thrown out a few dollar figures just to demonstrate the idea. Google is leading the way! The Google plan for San Francisco is neat. It is not much different than a number of plans in Europe but it is going to be a life changing system. Adoption of broadband in the rest of the US will continue to move forward but in cities like San Francisco and Philadelphia that are installing city wide WIFI, the adoption rate is going to approach 100% quickly.

Broad adoption will result in new programing. This will in clued neat little tricks, such as directions and distance from where you currently sit to where ever you want to go, and the fulfillment of old dreams, such as video on demand. The commercial applications are powerful. Because the computer location is known, a question such as, Gas?, might yield the location and prices of gas in your immediate area. Gas is just the start. How about the price and location of Kellogg's Corn Flakes?

Limited video on demand will even be free. However, one should not assume that ESPN or American Idol will be available at zero costs. The more one uses the service, the more likely one is to need higher speed of distribution. Also, producers of video services may offer various programming packages. One might be able to see all professional baseball games played fairly cheaply a couple of days after the game. One the other hand, it might be possible to view a movie now showing at theaters for a premium price.

The amount of media available will expand dramatically. Much of it will be supported by advertising. The good news is that the advertising will not be nearly as irrelevant and intrusive as today's TV advertising.

Envisioning the future is not possible, but we often get a good glimpse a few weeks or months ahead. San Francisco is about to be covered with free phone, internet and TV services! The growth in the amount of usage will be large. The citizens of other towns are going to be jealous. Look for the rapid adoption of free phone and other services across the country. Entrenched players will slow the spread but there is a gaping hole in the dam that will not be plugged!

Om Malik

Google makes WIFI FREE

San Francisco becomes Wireless Hub