The US government announced that it may begin to offer free wireless internet. Wait. Before you check your eyes?it?s not quite as good as it sounds. Basically, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is planning to auction off airwaves, like radio airwaves, but the winner must offer wireless broadband services for free. The goal is to enable more Americans, who currently cannot afford to or do not have access to the internet, to join in on the

fun. Though a similar idea was rejected last year, the FCC will vote on the proposal on June 12 and a positive outcome is likely.

While free internet would be ideal for all Americans and seems like a good economic decision for the FCC, it will not be that easy to achieve. A couple years ago, the government rejected a company called M2Z when it wanted to utilize the airwaves and provide free internet. The company?s bid included a 5 percent payment to the government of all advertising from the network. The government deemed the agreement as unfair to other networks that didn?t have the opportunity to bid for the project (insert Halliburton joke here).

The FCC won?t just give the broadband space away without strings attached either. The government organization tried to auction off a portion of it earlier this year with no success. The catch was that the winner would be required to construct a nationwide emergency communication network ? and of course this turned the bidders away.

The concept of free internet is probably not that far fetched (Polynesia has it for crying out loud), but it will take some time and a lot of negotiations between the FCC and the wireless providers. Of course, money remains the bottom line and both parties will have to find a way to benefit . Maybe the FCC can fly over to England, who gave London and other major metros within the country free WiFi. Perhaps we can follow Singapore’s lead, who launched countrywide free WiFi as part of its


Either way, if the FCC follows through and the country is given free WiFi, expect notebook PC sales to skyrocket as new computer users will buy portables that have built-in WiFi connectivity. With nationwide free WiFi, online security will become a major issue in this country and fuel a national debate on internet content, two topics that will certainly be discussed during the 2012 Presidential Debates.