September 3, 2004 · Lessig
Philadelphia is considering adding WiFi boxes to all street lights, making the whole city WiFi alive. What I like best about this idea is how the link to street lights suggests how we should think about this resource:
(1) Is it free? No, just as street lighting costs money, it will cost money to put Wifi boxes on street lighting.
(2) Is it free. Yes, like lighted streets, and air conditioned city hall, you won’t have to pay to enjoy the resource.
(3) So it is free and not free: yes, as all great public resources are.
And as with all great public resources, this will benefit Philadelphia in ways we cannot begin to imagine. Let the city provide a platform, and watch the entrepreneurs find a million ways to make it valuable. Did anyone have any clue about all the ways the GPS would be used once Ronald Reagan set it free?