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Friday, October 27, 2006
Oh, really? That’s what the Courant says about the new wi-fi service available in Hartford.
From a bench in Bushnell Park, or a spot overlooking the Connecticut River, or from the living room of a house in Blue Hills, Hartford residents can now access the Internet through a wireless - and free - municipal network.
But the very next sentence says otherwise.
Mayor Eddie A. Perez plans to announce today the launch of a $1 million pilot program to test the service, along with a push by the city to sell inexpensive computers to residents.
How is that free? One million dollars is not free. A more truthful statement would be “no cost to lower-income users”. This program is only free if you ignore the fact that the taxpayer is funding this program. (The article isn’t clear about the origin of the funding, but it’s most certainly not a private gift to the municipality.)
Furthermore, does Hartford really need a wi-fi network when only 25% of its townspeople even own a computer (and how many of those are wireless-capable)?
The article goes on to say:
(S)tarting in March, only the first 20 hours of access per household will be free; after that, residents will have to buy unlimited access for $12 to $17 a month.
Ah. The fine print.
So, in truth, Hartford is making available low-cost, subsidized wireless internet access to its citizens at a discount. That’s a far cry from “free”.
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