In last Friday’s very quick “debate” between muniwireless.com founder Esme Vos and myself on CNBC (view it here), Vos did not rise to my observation that the push by some San Francisco city council members to dump the EarthLink-Google muni wireless proposalÃ¢â?¬â??with a free wireless componentÃ¢â?¬â??in favor of a taxpayer funded, city-operated system, was “ridiculous.” I was hoping she would come down on one side or the otherÃ¢â?¬â??and I am sufficiently curious as to which. Vos agreed that the private sector contracts have become the preferred approach among most municipalities, but her Web site tends toward criticism of the carrier industry and a faith in that big government can affectively address social needs. She elegantly sidestepped the question about how muni wireless operations have started to filter peer-to-peer applications because of the congestion they create by stating that “wireline” ISPs filter and censor, too. If you count phone companies in China, Iran and Saudi Arabia, sure. But in the U.S. I’m hard-pressed to find any private sector ISP blocking legal web sites.
Steven Titch served as a policy analyst at Reason Foundation from 2004 to 2013.