Biber Architects

Biber Architects

New York, NY


100 Ideas: 002 Free Citywide Wi-Fi

By jamesbiber
Oct 12, '11 10:20 AM EST

We are all willing to pay our DSL, cable modem or fiber optic bills to get broadband access at home, willing to pay usurious rates at hotels, airports and even 'borrow' our neighbors open wi-fi on occasion. We all get free radio broadcasts. We all get cell service. And we all need city-wide Wi-Fi service.

It would take only a fraction of what we now pay, as a tax, to support the system. The new distribution points could be integrated with new lighting, bus shelters, public phones booths or any number of possible points of attachment to the City’s infrastructure.

In a few years it will seem inconceivable that a major city is without a free public Wi-Fi system, and just as New York has the nation’s largest subway system it should have the largest and most comprehensive Municipal Wi-Fi system.

And, while we are at it, Wi-Fi on the subways would be a way to avoid the frightening prospect of cellphone enabled ‘rolling phone booths’ while allowing people to do some work, map their next destination or contact friends to say you would be a bit late.

We cannot let Akron be the first.