Archive for September 27th, 2004

An Idea Whose Time Has Come



Yesterday Dave Winer mentioned in passing an idea which
we have been thinking about more and more lately. He
, "I want
Internet access to become ubiquitous and free as soon as possible."

Let us take that thought to another level. In order to
achieve that goal, the length and breath of America must be wired for
high-speed wireless internet access in the largest public works project
since Eisenhower committed to the Interstate
Highway System
in 1956.

Furthermore, we believe that the installation of a national,
free, public internet interface would bolster American business, multiply
productivity, foster innovation and create a competitive comparative
advantage which would assure American primacy in the wired world well
into the 21st century.

Lately we have been wondering what kind of politician
we would not only
support, but actually get off our ass and work for. This may be the
only issue that would do it. The first candidate for public office
who will pledge to work towards this goal will be the first candidate
to fully tap the potential of the Internet to affect the political

To actually accomplish this goal would require years
and cost billions – like the Interstate Highway system. It will probably
not be possible until we resolve this messy war on terrorism, one
way or another. The highway system sprouted in the immediate aftermath
of WWII. The money Bush is throwing into Iraq would probably be enough
to get the national wireless grid built.

The national net must be public to avoid the merciless
commercialization which is already stifling the innovation and creativity
of the web.  It must be free to insure equal access and transparent
interactivity. In the early days of the American road system
the highways were a frustrating maze of private turnpikes and roads,
toll bridges, closed, impassable stretches and constant guardhouses
and borders. No way to do efficient business.

The first candidate to swear to realize this vision would
be the immediate beneficiary of funding, organization, publicity
efforts of the wired political world of all stripes.  This is
an issue we can agree on. This is a vision we can share.

the original article Dave was
commenting on, concerning efforts to wire Philadelphia, is here