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Using WiFi to Bridge the Digital Divide

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the doesn't-even-take-much-of-a-grant dept.

Wireless Networking 338

andori writes "CNN is running a story about how WiFi is enabling low-income residents Internet access. The project is set at a public housing development in Boston, Massachusetts. Residents buy the WiFi NIC, and the access if free. It is nice to see people making an effort to expand the reach of the Internet to a broader audience."

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Slashdot's editors have a history of censorship (-1, Troll)

Mdog (25508) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371906)

see my sig file

oh, and fp bitches

First! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371911)

Post!

FP! (4, Insightful)

Jennifer Ever (523473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371912)

Will this do any more than free dialup access did?

Re:FP! (3, Insightful)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371943)



Its more convenient than dial-up for people who don't have a phone.

Who has a PC but no phone? (2, Interesting)

autopr0n (534291) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372050)

Of course a lot of people, including the poor, are cellphone only these days.

Re:FP! (0, Insightful)

carpe_noctem (457178) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372280)

When you find someone that has a computer able to handle a WiFi card and a fast internet connection, but not a telephone, let me know. I want to shake their hand.

Re:FP! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371967)

Is it really free? I don't know if the post really said "...and the access is free" or "...and they access if free"..

Re:FP! (1)

silvakow (91320) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372009)

Of course this will do more than free dialup access. This is essentially the broadband equivalent. No longer will low income families be tieing up their phone lines because for slow access to the internet. This evens the playing field: now everyone (in Boston, anyways) has equal access to information.

Being that more websites are being built for high bandwidth users, this will truly allow equal access to information.

News for Geeks, Stuff that Doesn't Matter [unixjokes.com]

Re:FP! (1)

Jennifer Ever (523473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372188)

Being that more websites are being built for high bandwidth users, this will truly allow equal access to information.

Maybe, maybe not. Much of that information is formatted for modern systems. How much good does broadband do for someone with a 486 and a 640x480, 256-color monitor, 40 megs of RAM, etc?

Pings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372020)

We can all hope that this new breed of pauper online gaming will give us plenty of lamers on crappy wifi connections and shoddy boxes trying to stop themselves being spawn killed at ridiculously low resolutions in software mode on U2k3

"die AOL wifi lamer"

Re:Pings? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372142)

This just in...computer thefts in the area surrounding the newly WiFi have increased dramatically. Virtual crack websites, and Cyber-Bling-Bling newsgroups are on the rise. What's next, Gangsta Crackerz?

Re:FP! (5, Insightful)

WallsRSolid (591098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372024)

This is a legitimate point, which is incredible for a first post.

Anyhow, it seemed that free dialup failed because it was a) too slow, and b) had way too many ads. I suspect this will be more successful, as these aren't such a problem.

Re: poor people not having computers. Often there are families who recognize that they should hop onto the technology bandwagon, for themselves or for the sake of their children. What prevents many of them from investing in technology is the monthly fee of a net connection, not so much the initial cost of the computer.

Unfortunately, these poor people will probably pay the windows tax since they don't have the kind of computer experience and education to use linux, which would ironically be much more enabling to them.

----
e+ ----><---- e-
Fatal Attraction

Re:FP! (2, Insightful)

Jennifer Ever (523473) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372282)

Anyhow, it seemed that free dialup failed because it was a) too slow, and b) had way too many ads. I suspect this will be more successful, as these aren't such a problem. True, but then, how long until that changes?

POOR PEOPLE DONT HAVE COMPUTERS IDIOTS! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372032)

They only have crack pipes and wlfare checks, how is wifi access going to help out?

Nice (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371924)

until all the spammers move into that apartment building, that is.

What? (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371926)

So, if the people in the public housing have a WiFi NIC (and, presumably, a computer), why are they in public housing?

It's called... (2, Insightful)

maxbang (598632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371995)

cheap second-hand computers. And wi-fi adapters can be found for under $30.

Re:What? (2, Insightful)

dbrutus (71639) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372037)

Perhaps you can see this combination because you can get cheap/free computers capable of wifi reception but to escape public housing you might need an extra $3-4 hundred a month in income.

Re:What? (4, Informative)

maxbang (598632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372214)

There are several programs that specialize in recycling PCs to those in need - one of which I administer in my neighborhood. When a local rent control building wanted to setup a hotspot, we supplied them with free computers. I don't think supply is that big of an issue, especially when a Pentium II will do the job. We're not talking gaming here - just a conduit to the possibilities of the Internet. Of course, they all run Linux ;)

crackwhores and linux (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372248)

open sores at it's best!

Ah yes, the usual debate... sheesh. (4, Insightful)

Midnight Ryder (116189) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372313)

So, if the people in the public housing have a WiFi NIC (and, presumably, a computer), why are they in public housing?

Ah yes... the usual debate. As in, why are they buying anything like this if they are poor?

Think about it this way - if you have kids, you just opened up a whole new set of possibilities for them by purchasing a used PC (at the pawnshow, used computer store, etc - used hardware is CHEAP unless you want top of the line.) That and Internet access now allows them to at least try and keep up with the other kids nationwide that have access to the Internet. Heck, even if it's not used for direct learning (IE, they are playing games or downloading music, etc., instead of reading text books line ;-) the act of becoming familiar with the way things work will allow them not to fall behind nearly as much. You might not think about it much, since you are at least somewhat computer and Internet savy (Hey, you are posting on /. - that could say either good or bad things about you ;-)

And as for adults using it... well, I personally use mine for more than just crusing porn and downloading music. In fact, I don't do much of either one o' those - instead, I use it as a learning tool of sorts (Got a C++ question? Google It. Got a medical question? Google it. Need to know what a phrase in a contract means? Google It.), and to run an online company (my game company). The latter wouldn't to apply to nearly as many people as the former - just about anything you want to know is there. And that's only ONE application of the Internet. It's a great enabler for people, and I think it's a wise investment on anyone's part to hook up - even if it means scraping together the cash for some really cheap hardware over the process of months.

NOT getting Internet access, IMHO, is the mistake.

Hello? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371933)

I doubt that I am getting a first post. Because Slashdot seems to fuck things up for trolls wanting a first post. But if I am lucky enough...

FIRST POST!@

Last psot (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371935)

Mac peopl are dum! One big-as buttn??

broader audience? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371936)

you mean a lower audience, not a broader audience.

That's good! (3, Funny)

MikeXpop (614167) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371945)

Now not only the people in rich neighborhoods get free internet! I love my neighbors, and their 802.11b wireless internet =D

hah (0, Redundant)

bobcrotch (650038) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371948)

yeah the thought is there, but i wasn't aware that the avg low income person had a computer and a WiFi NIC hehe.

And the access if free. ?!? (-1, Offtopic)

Lovejoy (200794) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371953)

How many thousands of people read Slashdot every day?

Considering the enormous number of people who will be momentarily confused by that misplaced "if," would it be too much to ask to spend 10 seconds to correct blatant error such as this?

I admit, I'm about ready to give up on the misplaced apostrophe's, the mispeelings, and the run on sentences that just go one forever without even a semicolon, you know what I'm talking about?

But give me break That's not even the right word!

Re:And the access if free. ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371997)

How many thousands of people read Slashdot every day?

Considering the enormous number of people who will be momentarily confused by that misplaced "if," would it be too much to ask to spend 10 seconds to correct blatant error such as this?

I admit, I'm about ready to give up on the misplaced apostrophe's, the mispeelings, and the run on sentences that just go
one forever without even a semicolon, you know what I'm talking about?

But give me break That's not even the right word!


Considering the enormous number of people who will be momentarily confused by that misplaced "one" would it be too much to ask to spend 10 seconds to correct blatant error such as this?

Re:And the access if free. ?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372031)

ok so you want the janitors to be nazi's on the submissions as well as the posts???? you obviously didnt put much thought into it.

true (3, Funny)

Joe the Lesser (533425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371956)

"Many people point to issues of democracy and public participation and dialogue, and having access to what the Internet brings is really important, she said."

I agree. Pr0n is important.

I do that now.. (5, Interesting)

xchino (591175) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371957)

The apartments I live in are inhabited by a bunch of broke ass young adults such as myself. Me and 7 or 8 of my geek friends in this all pitch in on a leased line and then operate a WiFi hotspot for anyone in the apartment to use.

The problem we run into most is still the cost of the hardware. For people who don't make alot of money, getting started can really take some sacrafice.

Re:I do that now.. (3, Interesting)

horatio (127595) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372046)

How do you deal with security in this environment? Do you run WEP or anything like it? Do you give everyone the same key, or have a way to distribute unique keys, perhaps automatically?

A friend who works at a local coffee shop is interested in having someone come in and set up a wireless network. I have an AP at home, but its only for me. Any good references or documentation on how to set something like this up well for public use?

Re:I do that now.. (4, Informative)

benploni (125649) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372217)

http://www.nycwireless.net/ [nycwireless.net] - lots of info on how to set up a secure, shared public access point
http://www.bawug.org/ [bawug.org] - the most technically adept wireless user group. Their mailing list is worth its weight in gold.

Good luck.

Re:I do that now.. (4, Funny)

protonman (411526) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372295)

> Their mailing list is worth its weight in gold.

That doesn't sound too great, you know.

Free Porn! (4, Funny)

steelerguy (172075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371969)

Isn't it a fundamental right to be able to d/l porn?

keep the internet free (5, Interesting)

maxbang (598632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371977)

This rules - another way we can keep information free to all, especially to people who can use it to improve their lives. Someday broadband will be a reliable public utility.

Janis Joplin Is My Cousin (-1, Flamebait)

Acidic_Diarrhea (641390) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372019)

That's nonsense. There is a reason poor people are poor. It's because they're pathetic fuck-ups with no ambition, drive, or intelligence. They are truly the bottom of the barrel and belong there. If the government does not see fit to get rid of them, the least they can do is attempt to hide their stench from me, a worthy citizen. The poor should be kept in slums and prevented from ever entering my neighborhood. They are shit and should be treated accordingly.

Keep the poor and stupid off the Internet.

Re:Janis Joplin Is My Cousin (-1, Offtopic)

maxbang (598632) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372125)

If you're trying to be funny, you're not. Go write a sitcom for UPN.

Re:Janis Joplin Is My Cousin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372202)

I was being honest. What are you? A fucking liberal faggot? Fuck you.

Re:Janis Joplin Is My Cousin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372258)

Start seeing the therapist twice a week too. When you pop, your going to hurt some one.

Re:Janis Joplin Is My Cousin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372215)

Dude your sadly deranged.

You really didn't understand all those Ayn Rand novels you read. They are not an excuse for fascism.

Why don't you up your Lorazepam and go goose step over to some other bulletin board?

Re:Janis Joplin Is My Cousin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372277)

"your sadly deranged"
You want to talk about not understanding a book? I propose that you don't understand any books written in English since your grasp of it is so poor. Listen fucktard, there is a difference between "your" and "you're" - try to figure it out you fucking retard.

You better watch out - you are starting to sound almost Conservative with your 'not in my sandbox' line. You wouldn't want anyone expressing a view different from your own on Slashdot, now would you? A site you are not an editor at so fuck you. Why don't you go someplace else? Probably you'd have a better time at gayporn.com [gayporn.com] , you fucking faggot. Fuck you!

Re:Janis Joplin Is My Cousin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372297)

Kind of AR for tough guy conervative arnt you?

Re:Janis Joplin Is My Cousin (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372331)

Spell it any way you want. You need help.

I'm Brian Fellows!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372115)

I'm Brian Fellows!!

Slashdot is pitching Speakeasy now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5371979)

Why the Speakeasy [speakeasy.net] logo for the article?

Just Great! (2, Funny)

bastardman (631862) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371980)

With projects like these it is no wonder that there are millions of newbies trying to play online games. Just the other day some newbie told me he could kick my ass in Quake 3... well one thing lead to another, and now he's dead. Moral of the story, some people shouldn't be on the internet.

Dead? (1, Funny)

yerricde (125198) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372004)

Just the other day some newbie told me he could kick my ass in Quake 3... well one thing lead to another, and now he's dead.

Do you mean "dead" within the game and will respawn in five seconds, or "dead" outside the game, never to respawn?

Wow! (5, Insightful)

delta407 (518868) | more than 11 years ago | (#5371985)

U.S. Department of Commerce data from 2001 indicated that 78.9 percent of people in families making $75,000 or more had Internet access, compared to 25 percent of people from households earning less than $15,000 a year.
What a breakthrough! It seems that people below poverty level are more concerned with survival than Internet access -- who would have thought? ...how much did that study cost?

Re:Wow! (1, Flamebait)

nickmdf (216307) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372110)

It has been my experience that most lower income residents are
not as interested in the internet, or anything else that requires
a fair amount of reading. Entertainment, on the other
hand is a priority for them. It would be instructive to
study how well they are outfitted with TV's, video games, stereos,
and other such entertainment equipment. I am not judging, just
saying it the way that it is.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372253)

Yes. There is a fundamental flaw in the liberal, "help the poor" mentality. It assumes the poor actually want a lifestyle different from what they have.

Re:Wow! (1)

PD (9577) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372303)

And there's a flaw in the conservative "fuck the poor" mentality. It assumes that when person A gets rich, person B can survive on person A's trash.

Re:Wow! (3, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372186)

That's one point on which you actually have to give Bill Gates credit - his charitable foundation focuses on much more important things (clean water, medicine, etc.) for the Third World than internet access and free computers.

Re:Wow! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372287)

...people below poverty level are more concerned with survival than Internet access...

No kidding. I can just hear it now... "Tyrone, go and get momma a big slice of that gubbermint cheese! I'm too busy reading about the new Gentoo release on Slashdot!"

Wireless Anarchy (5, Insightful)

blocsync (320897) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372001)

Allowing free access like this seems to have the potential for chaos. Accountability for who is doing what over the connection would be a painful process at best. Hopefully they'll incorporate some type of authentication with a pre-registration required, even if it is free, just to create a sense (even if it ends up being false) of accountability.

nocat authentication for wireless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372043)

check out the nocat project for something free which can be used to keep tabs on the users of the free service.

nocat.net

Anonymity not accountability (2, Insightful)

ACNiel (604673) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372206)

The whole deal with the internet and slashdot is anonymity and the right to privacy. Why would we want to feel more accountable, or care about feeling that way. Especially when you are talking about the free speach aspect of the internet. Then less accountability is better. I don't want people to know that I just posted that my neighbor is a drug dealer to help get him run out of the complex, especially my well armed neighbor. Granted that is a little contrived, but you get the picture. Free speach is all about anonymity, or the ability to be anonymous if one wants to be. Without it, most discourse, political discourse especially, would be dead.

Re:Wireless Anarchy (2, Interesting)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372312)

Hopefully they'll incorporate some type of authentication with a pre-registration required, even if it is free, just to create a sense (even if it ends up being false) of accountability.

The internet provides no accountability in any case. The caught number of hackers is dwarfed by the uncaught. Providing poor people with anonymous internet access is probably safer than providing it to the idle rich (college students).

If you're insecure, you can't rely on every ISP in the world to be helpful or vigilant. Not because they shouldn't be, but because they are not.

When I was down and out... (4, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372017)

I carried my ass to a library for internet access.

Re:When I was down and out... (2, Insightful)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372101)

From the article...

a resident poll found that virtually all participants used the computers to read news, learn about health and housing, or to shop online.

I love welfare type systems, keep 'em poor and keep 'em consuming, that way they won't bother me!

Re:When I was down and out... (4, Insightful)

jandrese (485) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372212)

I look at it this way. Johnny noshoes wants to learn Oracle so he can move in the world. He's smart, but was dealt a lousy hand. He can:
  1. Take classes, although he can't afford those official classes and the local community college doesn't offer anything like this
  2. Buy a book at the local bookstore for full price ($$$).
  3. Buy the book online at a nice (20%) discount ($$)
Johnny has just bettered himself[1] and saved a bit of money in the process. Isn't that what the internet is all about?

If someone is poor because they are fiscally irresponsable, do you think the Internet is going to leave them worse off than they were before?

[1] Technically he isn't a better person until he actually sits down and learns the skills, but that is beside the point.

Re:When I was down and out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372194)

That would explain the sticky carrells...

Re:When I was down and out... (3, Insightful)

alkali (28338) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372302)

I carried my ass to a library for internet access.

Well, what's cheaper: maintaining a staffed piece of real estate containing a PC (i.e., a library), or just dropping an antenna on top of a housing project?

Now that I think about it, providing welfare recipients with broadband access may well be the most cost-effective way of getting them the information they need most: where they can get a job, where they can get housing outside the public housing system, what's going on at their kids' schools, medical information, local news, etc., etc. (Some Harvard students set up a program to do online tutoring [harvard.edu] for Boston high school students; by all accounts, it seems to work pretty well.)

If a welfare recipient had to have one "luxury" appliance, a broadband-equipped PC seems like a reasonable choice. It would be far more justified than any other similarly priced item I can think of.

By contrast, the amount of money spent on Boston's public access cable programming [bnntv.org] is massive, and is entirely wasted.

Not to be a grouch... (4, Insightful)

boomgopher (627124) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372028)

but I really doubt this will be very useful in improving many low-income families lives. I mean, sure, having Intenet access is fun and all, but I mostly see it being used for music-sharing, IM, and porn.

There's always a few people who really take an affinity to tech, and will run with it, and maybe start a career, but they'd probably do it without WiFi.

Anyways, my point is the money could probably be used better somewhere else, either in the USA or elsewhere in the world, like the countless refugee camps throughout Asia and Africa, where people have really fucked-up lives.

Re:Not to be a grouch... (2, Insightful)

Chris Tucker (302549) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372220)

So boomgopher sez:

"Anyways, my point is the money could probably be used better somewhere else, either in the USA or elsewhere in the world, like the countless refugee camps throughout Asia and Africa, where people have really fucked-up lives. "

Ohm yeah, the pittance involved in this project will REALLY help the all those poor soids in Asia and Africa.

Why, evenly distributed, we could probably send a single Meal, Ready to Eat pouch to every single one of those refugees. Once. Of course, this doesn't include the actual costs of shipping the MREs to the camps.

Look, you're a bleeding heart doofus with no idea whatsoever about the costs involved in this project and the expenses involved in aiding all those refugees.

The WiFi project wouldn't cover the cost of any useful aid prokect in Asia or Africa.

And as for the poor in America, this money IS being used to help the poor. Just because you are a meatsack who is only interested in MP3s, pr0n and IM, don't assume that you are representative of the people this project is helping.

I speak from experience. I've been involved in some projects like this, and I can tell you that a poor family that has access to the Internet does not use it for MP3 and pr0n. The kids use it for schoolwork, the parents use it for everything from education to downloading supermarket coupons. Seniors, particularly the housebound, use the net as a way to keep in touch with friends and family, along with education and entertainment. As an antidote to lonliness, it's pretty damn good.

This is a good thing! I really hope that Boston will expand this to the rest of the public housing infrastructure.

Re:Not to be a grouch... (1)

trybywrench (584843) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372293)

I have to agree with you. If the purpose of bringing Inet access to low-income families is to help them in their situation then the money could be better spent elsewhere.However, bringing Inet access to a school where the majority of students are low income would not be a bad idea. Teach them how to use the Inet and encourage the student's curiousity and maybe a path would open up to somewhere else besides the 'hood. Of course this requires a good teacher who gives a fsck and good luck finding that in a poor school where teachers/authority_figures priority is just surviving to see tomorrow.

btw, if you want to do something about the rest of the world where people have really fucked-up lives read eveything you can about Fred Cuny ( the good and the bad, he was murdered in Chechnya IIRC ) and use your tech skills to make a difference. WiFi for emergency comm networks in disaster areas anyone?

One quote from a movie says it all: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372047)

"The world causes it, information overload, all the electronics around you poisoning the airwaves, technological fucking civilisation, but we still have all this shit because we can't live without it."

-- Spider's response to Johnny when questioned about the 'black shakes', from Johnny Mnemonic the movie.

cool! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372160)

William Gibson writes the best movies & TV shows evar!

errrr.... or not.

how many of them will bring shovels? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372070)

to dig through the mountains of spam and useless pointless desperate marketing that is infused in the internet? I could be considered an experienced internet user and I still can't get my normal content-to-spam ratio down to a useable level. People unexperienced with the web or modern technology I think would be horribly confused as to what to do with the web or email if they got it. I think that the equipment and the airwaves would go largely unused unless they focus on either
A. educating the masses about the ways of the internet, including "street smarts" about all the types of spam and popups and embeded ads and/or
2. working on legislation that would help curb the flow of unsolicited advertising, maybe convincing these advertisers to make a good product rather than mass-market and hope for that 0.1% to respond to the ad for a cell phone booster anteanna
since this is government run, they're probably about as "street smart" as Steve Erkel, stick with working on the commercial sector
-P

No broads except at clubs (1)

ThumperByTrade (653117) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372072)

"It is nice to see people making an effort to expand the reach of the Internet to a broader audience"

Forget that. I need all the bandwith I can get for my pr0n, PS2, and MP3 P2P.

Malt Liquor (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372073)

http://www.40ozmaltliquor.com/

Re:Malt Liquor** killer app (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372155)

Its the killer app for the bangin broad band gehto crowd.

Hey! Great Idea (2, Funny)

ransom2003 (652619) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372074)

Now how about free internet for the middle-class? eh? eh? C'mon, I live out in the sticks and the fastest internet available to me is 56k :( GIVE ME BANDWIDTH!!!!

Re:Hey! Great Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372329)

D-amn Staight! That is exactly what I was thinking!

Rural Poor? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372089)

What about the millions of poor Americans in rural areas who have no chance at 'high speed' internet access? Are we now going to give them DirecWay dishes?

Who says you have to be poor? (1)

Zygote-IC- (512412) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372286)

When you live out in rural areas unless you are a bazillionaire high speed access is completely out of the question. I have a friend who has DirecWay, he's about ready to turn it into a big bowl for dips when he has party because that's all its good for.
Anything that can cross that last mile, over the river, through the woods, and above the cow into my house with real speed, not a laggy, delayed trashed out bandwidth that vanishes when it rains is a plus.

Re:Rural Poor? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372300)

No, only unemployable niggers are permitted to receive welfare handouts.

Another big brain government program (0, Troll)

Pointy_Hair (133077) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372090)

How many public housing residents will actually have a computing device to plug a wireless NIC into? Or have the requisite 1st grade education to use one? Or even put the crack pipe down long enough to even care?

read the story u idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372189)

This is not a government project.

Do you have the requisite 1st grade education to post to slashdot? Try reading the story before you post.

And didya know that your stereotypical view of poor people is a pretty inaccurate and shitty perspective?

Re:Another big brain government program (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372281)

Whoever modded this Funny is truly ignorant and is renforcing the stereotypes in today's society.

Re:Another big brain government program (2, Informative)

EggMan2000 (308859) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372325)

Answers to your questions:

25%, 90%, Your careless attitude is part of the reason we still "ghettoize" our poor in this country. To hate and villify the poor for being poor is about as selfish and selfcentered as you can be.

To give them free wifi can only help. Think about all the municiple services that are available on-line these days. With out web access you are forced to wait on line for hours to get forms to even apply for services.

This public housing is an example of the new style that doesn't throw everyone up in a highrise, but Camfield Estates [camfieldestates.net] is different. This is the model of what public housing should be.

The Wi-Fi acccess is NOT a gov't project. It is all donated by companies and non-profits.

Free?? (2, Insightful)

HMV (44906) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372094)

Free as in no cost for the end user, maybe.

"The project, mostly paid for with a $200,000 grant from the Kellogg Foundation and supported by companies like Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft as well as public and nonprofit entities..."

So we have evil corporations, nonprofits, and public (funded by you and I) entities. The label "free access" sounds as if the bandwidth fairy visited Boston last week.

Nice to see (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372099)

that we are giving our underprivilaged free access to steal music and download porn. This won't greatly improve anyones life. The internet isn't some savior of the masses, a neccesity, or even a really useful tool. For people that do business on the internet it is useful, to everyone else it is just a pretty neat toy. These are low income housing dwellers that can't even afford a place to live without it being subsidized. I am not saying we shouldn't give them internet access for free, that is a nice gesture. But will it really affect their lives positively? Do we need to herald this as a great thing? We have just subjected a whole new batch of people to spam that were previously unaffected.

Stealing music? No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372158)

"that we are giving our underprivilaged free access to steal music"

Except that it is impossible to steal music using the Internet. Copy, yes. But steal, no. Duplication can never be theft, it does not meet the definition.

In fact, music theft becomes less likely if you give people Wifi. Without it, they might heave their worthless non-connected machines through store windows and actually steal music.

Money from Nigeria? Way out of poverty (5, Funny)

Nikk Name (649179) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372100)

With WiFi, the poor can take advantage of the many wealth-building opportunities provided by the Internet, ranging from multi-million dollar gifts from Nigeria to sure-thing casino accounts to free university diplomas.

Appropriate use (5, Interesting)

CromeDome (184915) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372114)

While I think this is a good idea for a lot of reasons, I have to wonder what precautions (if any) are being taken to ensure that these free connections are being used appropriately. I don't think a good use of this would include file swapping, online games, pr0n, and the like. I'm sure others would agree with this.

"Residents can buy wireless cards for their desktops or laptops. The cards, which can cost up to $100 retail, will be given away to the elderly and sold for $60 to others."

I'm not a low income household, but with a full-time student (wife) and kid to feed, it's sometimes hard for me to cough up money for extra hardware (and I'm not what most would consider to be a low income family). I would hope that these people have their own priorites straight before venturing into this. I also hope their welfare checks aren't buying them wireless NIC cards.

Interesting question.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372164)


Would the "war on drugs" go away, if the sellers worked from a wifi out of their slum apartment instead of slinging on the streets? If instead of drive-bys, there were DDOS-bys?

just what they need (4, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372166)

Now they can work crushing hours doing horrible manual labor, then come home after their 12 hour shift and read slashdot, where they'll find out that they're poor because they're "lazy". Great that they'll now have a place to listen to spoiled rich kids whine about how the government steals their money and gives it to all those undeserving poor people.

Slick Gentrification Program in Disguise? (1)

CrypticOutsider (615336) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372175)

Maybe the goal is to get all the drive by crews who war dial into wireless networks to camp out or move in. And that should certainly solve the problem of the hardware being the biggest short term cost.

Chalk Towers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372205)

"Maybe the goal is to get all the drive by crews who war dial into wireless networks to camp out or move in"

Perhaps if we build the subsidized housing projects containing WiFi out of chalk, then we get rid of the need to warchalk the buildings themselves.

Digital Divide? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372196)

Well, it's about time someone did something about that. The gap between "1" and "0" has always struck me as one which needs to be narrowed...

Ok, I have to ask. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372211)

Why in the hell do I need a job. The G'ment will pay for my food, housing, my insurance, my children and their insurance, and now they will pay for my broadband internet access.

I think this country is in the need of a revolution. What is next free luxury automobiles. 90% of these poor need to get off their ass and take responsibility for their lives. Broadband internet access is a luxury (hell the internet is a luxury), and if you can't afford it don't place the burden of payment on the working class of this country.

Don't worry it is all free (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372229)

do not have a worry. All of this stuff is free. We do not pay for it: the government does.

Redundant? (0, Redundant)

RyansPrivates (634385) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372236)

Is it just me, or has an article like this one been posted nearly every week for months now... WiFi blah blah blah, Speakeasy blah blah blah, Neighbors sharing internet blah blah blah! We know already.

The internet as an educational medium. (2, Insightful)

Anik315 (585913) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372238)

All of this may change with things like MIT OCW, but as it stands now the internet is a piss poor medium for education. When I was 12 years old, I used the internet for email, porn, videogames, and conceptually copying reports for school. I suspect I would have been an mp3 fiend if they'd been around.

Sometimes it bothers me the way people talk about the internet. It takes just as much intelligence and discipline to learn from the internet as it does to learn from books and teachers. It's nice that they're giving these people internet access, but I'm under no illusion that this will help children develop in any significant way.

Sir Mix-a-Lot (1)

smack_attack (171144) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372251)

"My Homies on Broadband!"

You can tell it's a Seattle-based newspaper (1)

prgrmr (568806) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372273)

"...the boy-wonder techie...

That's quite a label for someone who wrote a basic compiler that's no longer used, and since has bought or borrowed code, or hired others to code the remainder of his company's technical products.

Boy wonder techie (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372327)

Yet, he has presided over creation of software that the vast majority of developers and end-users prefer over the alternatives.

I had a similiar project (-1, Troll)

Slashdotess (605550) | more than 11 years ago | (#5372274)

Heh, I headed up a project over this exact goal, we even had grant programs to give computers to low income people. more info here [hgncomnet.org]

Wait a minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5372318)

This is a repost... No, wait, is it? Why are the editors at slashdot screwing with my head like this?!

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