This article about taxpayer-funded public wifi networks touches upon a topic I've been discussing with yawning acquaintances for years. Namely, the fact that certain industries should made public, because they form the underpinnings of the economy. Power, water, and transportation industries allow other industries to function- without them, the economy goes belly up. I think that these utilities are too important to be for-profit, there are plenty of profits to be made in other endeavors which are made possible by the regular, regulated delivery of services. In my tirades and exhortations, I'd often refer to these factors as "metaeconomic", but that term has a previously accepted meaning.
By making cheap public wifi available, small businesses would be able to compete more readily, schools and libraries would be able to reduce the expenses associated with textbooks and class materials. Even though the telecom corporations that are currently providing internet service would suffer a loss of profits (though they could be forced by competition to innovate to increase data transmission speeds and to otherwise improve services), other sectors of the economy would benefit. Similarly, public health coverage would remove a significant barrier to the creation small businesses and entrepeneurs, namely the prohibitive cost of health insurance (my workplace had their yearly enrollment meeting today).
Of course, I don't think that the introduction of public wifi will be implemented. As I opined above, cheap, taxpayer funded wifi would force the current telecom providers to improve their services, and it's a lot easier to pay lobbyists to crush competition. Here in the U.S., we just can't have nice things, it seems.
Just a quick, slightly goofy post hastily put up because I'm in a lazy mood...