this article, the FCC is pondering a rule change that would allow the federal government to set up a free nationwide broadband wi-fi network for anyone to use anywhere. Wireless providers who are charging outrageous fees for their service contracts will resist this proposal, but in the end it stands an excellent chance of taking effect. Don't get your hopes up for free cell phone and internet service anytime soon, though, 'cause they say it will take years to set up once all the legal hurdles are cleared.
Even so... Just thinking about the possibility of broadband access in rural areas that currently don't have internet services is a huge undertaking. The article says Google and Microsoft are on board with the idea, big time, because it will spur innovation and the increased coverage will probably result in more of their products being used. But the Big Boys who have us all over a barrel for internet service and cell phone coverage will pitch a bitch before this ever happens.
And if you offer something "free" from the government, count on Republicans to insist that the "free market" be allowed to pick winners and losers so that there's a profit to be made. If it sounds wonderful and everyone wants it, you can bet your ass some stodgy old white man in a suit will "harrumph!" his way to a filibuster before it ever happens.
And for the tin-hat crowd, if you think your phone conversations and internet surfing draws too much government attention NOW, just think of what they'll have access to if they're in charge of all phone and internet access. No more cooperation needed from Verizon or Sprint to get your phone records... Not that you have any shred of privacy as it currently stands, but once the government is responsible for providing the frequencies for broadband, they'll probably be all into your bidness...
Nevertheless, let me be the first to say "Fuck Comcast!" and wish this process a speedy passage to reality!