Like Martin Luther King, I have a dream; a dream where every man & woman, boy or girl would have access to free WI-FI, just as free as the air we breathe. Whoever says this is not possible should consider the case of the presence of Blackberry Messenger on even low end Chinese phones now.
I have always had this dream of free WI-FI. Yes, Free! Free!! Free!!! i say. You can call me stingy, I dont mind. Remember they say the good things in life are free. I long for that perfect scenario where I wake up, yawn, turn on my laptop, connect to a network and VAMM!!! There I go, surfing the world wide web in lighting speed. A WI-FI that never gets used up. Where I never get to pay to subscribe. hehehehe.
Every time my internet data gets used up, every time I shake my head, sigh & curse. I consume data more than I consume anything else in this world because my business is based online & sadly, the network providers here in Nigeria keep extorting us by hiking the price. But will you blame them? NO! All their base stations & offices run on diesel powered generators 24/7, & you expect them to bring down the price of internet subscription. I dont think so. I havent mentioned the huge bribes or commissions they have to pay secretly to corrupt officials.
Nigeria is corrupt, so is the United States. But if they can have free WI-FI, why cant we? Just yesterday the city of New York launched the nations largest free public Wi-Fi network in a bid to improve the citys internet access, especially in lower income areas. This Wi-Fi network is said to blanket 95 blocks of Harlem and will serve approximately 80,000 Harlem residents, New York Citys Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The network will be completely free of charge and will have speeds of at least 2mbits. It will provide free, fast outdoor internet connections for portable devices 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Bloomberg said at the press conference.
Now heres the catch, the network is not supposed to be a free alternative to expensive wired networks provided by companies like Time Warner Cable, as New York Citys chief Information & Innovation Office Rahul Merchant, yet subliminally it will be. Who will pay for WI-FI when there are free alternatives? My Ibo people say; Mmadu agahi arapu ebe ana echi ozo je ebe ana aru akwu. Meaning, one does not forbid a coronation party only to attend a palm kernel making session.
Now my question begs, when will we have one like this in Nigeria, or at most Lagos, the city of excellence, the city with technology, the hub for business, entrepreneurs, start-ups? The zone with millions of people tinkering and tapping gadgets connected to countless personal WI-FI networks?
In many countries when you subscribe for any broadband package you receive free unlimited access to their global WiFi network, as well as thier Wi-Fi hotspots in the UK. You bid goodbye to restrictive mobile phone data allowances and say hello to a brave new world of unlimited Internet on the move. You connect to the Internet at public wireless broadband access points called hotspots – just like the way you connect wirelessly at home. Easy peasy.
Many public libraries even offer free WiFi not to mention a quiet atmosphere to enjoy it Imagine WiFiFreeSpots at places like airports, gyms, petrol stations, courthouses, bus terminals.
I know not what the government of Lagos state is doing on their own as regards to this matter or if they have ever placed into consideration, but I know that the Lagos state government has granted CcHub Nigeria (an Incubator in Yaba) to dig up roads and lay WI-FI cables. This will create an incredibly fast WI-FI zone running from Unilag area to Sabo, and straight down Herbert Macaulay way. This would enable folks who are walking through the neighborhood access to anything they want on the web. That whole zone will be lit up with un-visible the colours of wi-fi network. This is a pure public service but of course youll have to pay to subscribe, its not free but then its a step in the right direction.
This new public Wi-Fi network should be running before the end of Christmas and would make the city even more appealing to entrepreneurs and startup-ers who live in the zone.
In the U.S, notable people are pushing for this Wi-Fi networks. In January, Google announced it would provide a publicly available wireless network around its headquarters in Chelsea. Its high time big companies start doing the same, let them give us free WI-FI as their own contribution to our personal ministries shikena.