Ubiquitous Wireless Connectivity Should be a Right

Imagine a world where every American could tear up their internet contract.  All those contacts are great for Verizon and Comcast, etc., but I think they are causing a big economic drag — for both individual pocketbooks and for broad-based economic development. I hope within my lifetime to see the moment where business and the market force a positive change.

Now that SpaceX is planning to blanket the US in better satellite coverage, things may start to get more interesting. The internet of things, in which sensors everywhere fix problems and make suggestions, requires ubiquitous connectivity.

Business councils could argue that if WiFi  were considered more of a right than a service, a flood of new economic activity and opportunities would result. And not only businesses would prosper. Poor people, who often use libraries because they cannot pay for internet contacts, could more easily seek new opportunities and create their own enterprises.

Until this happens, they providers are lording it over subscribers. My neighbor, who uses an antenna to get free TV and just needs internet, told me his provider informed him his new rate would rise from $50 to almost $100 when his two-year contact elapsed. The only way to get the contract back down was to agree on a promotional deal that included cable TV.

The providers are not plain dealers. I believe that they have engineered a useful system, but are stuck in short-term revenue maximization mode. The way they behave makes me think of them, as vampires. Hopefully the market undercuts them in a way that promotes human lives and greater prosperity.

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