Municipal WiFi and Spectrum Policy

[SOURCE: Truth, Justice, and Telecom Policy, AUTHOR: J.H. Snider]
[Commentary] For the last several years municipal WiFi policy advocates have been in survival mode. With more than a dozen legislatures--and many more waiting in the wings--seeking various ways to fatally wound municipal WiFi, the overwhelming first priority of municipal WiFi advocates has been to fight off this mortal threat. This agenda made sense. If you're dead, the rest of life's treats become irrelevant. But it's now clear that municipal WiFi will not die. Sure, attempts to kill it will continue. And, here and there, some of those attempts will probably succeed. But the municipal WiFi movement is no longer in its cradle. It's now a strapping adolescent and couldn't be destroyed without a highly visible, blood spattered battle--a type of battle disliked by the vast majority of successful politicians. Thus, I believe the time is right for municipal WiFi advocates to shift at least some of their focus to spectrum policy. Why is this important? Because municipal WiFi uses unlicensed spectrum, and the quality and quantity of that spectrum has a direct bearing on the cost and quality of the broadband services they can provide. The more unlicensed spectrum they have, especially in the lower frequencies, the better and more affordable the service they can provide.



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