A few years ago in Finland, a case of white collar crime was perpetrated. This in and of itself is not unusual, but the resulting legislation was. It turns out a bank employee used an open Wi-Fi access point to electronically transfer some money that wasn't his. So, clearly the best way to make sure people don't steal is to outlaw open Wi-Fi. That's just what Finland did. But now they're looking back with the benefit of hindsight and realizing they might have overreacted a little bit.
The Finnish Justice Ministry is planning to officially decriminalize unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots. Let's be clear though, this is not an invitation for people to leave the wireless networks unprotected. Individuals should probably protect their networks, unless they really feel like sharing with the neighborhood. This change will be great for businesses that had no choice but to lock down their Wi-Fi networks, causing inconvenience for customers.
It's nice to see a European nation being realistic about wireless networks. Germany recently instituted rules similar to the Finnish ones. We just don't quite see the argument. Do you think everyone should be legally required to lock down their Wi-Fi?
The broadband infrastructure of the United States is a little on the poor side when compared to some other nations. According to a new FCC report, the best way to fix that is to open up broadband access and increase competition. The FCC hasn’t considered requiring open access to broadband facilities since 2002. The principal of ‘open access’ says telecoms, like cable companies, should allow access to their physical infrastructure for competing businesses that don’t own infrastructure. Telephone carriers (i.e. DSL) are required to do this, cable providers are not.
The study was quoted as saying, “The lowest prices and highest speeds are almost always offered by firms in markets where, in addition to an incumbent telephone company and a cable company, there are also competitors who entered the market, and built their presence, through use of open access facilities.” The US is also expected to use stimulus finds to increase access to broadband.
The 232-page report estimates that building out the US infrastructure would cost at least $20 billion, and as much as $350 billion. The wide disparity in cost is the result of uncertainty as to what speed should be offered. The report says one-third of Americans have broadband access at home but do not subscribe, and 4% have no access at all.