Should WiFi Be Public Infrastructure?

I never liked living in Philly too much. I went to business school there in the mid-80s.

I spent most of my time in NYC hanging out with the Gotham Gal and getting into the venture business as a part-time associate at a firm called Euclid Partners.

But now Philly is doing something that I really like. They are going to turn the whole inner city into a WiFi Hotspot. Presumably it would be free. That’s smart, really smart.

According to Technology Futurist and cNet, the cost is about $10 million initially and about $1.5 million per year to maintain it.

That’s because WiFi equipment is cheap and getting cheaper every day. If the amortized cost of the upfront expense is about $2-3 million per year, then the total annual cost is about $4 million per year.

There were 1.5 million people in Philly in the 2000 census. So for about $2.67 per person per year, everyone can have free WiFi in the City of Brotherly Love. I bet that the city can figure out how to make this work without taxing its citizens. The sponsorship opportunities alone should make this a profitable venture.

I hope they do it and it works. Because I’d like all cities to do this. I think WiFi should be public infrastructure like roads, bridges, and tunnels.