Should Cities Provide Wifi?

Person on phone

Information travels across the Internet close to the speed of light, so it could go around the world almost 7.5 times in one second. Today, Americans spend around eleven hours on electronic media, most of which requires Internet connection. Because people spend so much time online, some think that cities providing wireless internet would be beneficial. Regardless of how often people use wireless Internet, it should not be necessary for cities to make it available to their residents.

Providing wireless Internet to a whole city would not be safe or realistic. Public networks leave connected devices at a greater risk to be hacked. A quick Internet search reveals article after article detailing how to hack into a device using the same network. If cities provided free Internet, anyone who used it would become susceptible to hackers. There would be no feasible way to control the hacking, and the city would have yet another liability. Additionally, cities would have a difficult time paying for the Internet and placing enough routers to insure citywide coverage. Each router only covers so much space, and cities occupy large areas. Cities don’t have the ability to make Internet available to everyone and keep it protected.

A city shouldn’t have to provide Internet access because in many public places and most homes, people already have access. Various coffee shops and restaurants give their customers access to Internet. McDonald’s alone has over 11,500 locations with free access to wireless Internet and many other chain restaurants and businesses offer it. Wherever someone wants to use Internet in cities, it is probably already provided. Cities would give people coverage where they don’t need it, like while walking down the sidewalk or driving in a car. Many people pay for Internet in their homes, so they don’t need the city to provide Internet to them. Because a lot of public places and residential areas have Internet access, it’s not necessary for a city to put Internet access anywhere else.

Some people would argue that Internet should be provided because it is necessary for day-to-day life and widely used. People communicate over the Internet and rely on it for information. Emails and texts while sent at work are most likely using the Internet, so communication between co-workers would be difficult without access to wireless Internet. However, adults are responsible and independent enough to pay for Internet monthly. People need to pay their own bills for housing, electricity, water, and other necessities. Because the city doesn’t provide residents with those basic needs for free, wireless Internet shouldn’t be available to residents for free. Even though Internet may be widely used in a professional setting, people can enjoy other pastimes without Internet when they aren’t at work. Activities like shopping and going to a park can be enjoyed without constant Internet connection. Internet access is not necessary while out in a city and people should be individually responsible for their Internet.

By providing wireless Internet in cities, the city would have plenty of new problems. Future cities would have less funding for other important projects. They would also be putting citizens in danger every time they used the public Internet and facing the issue of controlling crimes over the Internet. It is not beneficial for cities to provide wireless Internet to their residents.