How a ‘Free WiFi for All!’ Myth Was Born

The corpse has been outlined with chalk, but like a zombie it refuses to lie down. Under a “new” plan from the FCC, cities across America would be blanketed with “Super WiFi” capable of making mobile phone calls without a cell phone provider or a bill. Thanks Uncle Sam! The Washington Post “broke” the news, and it burst out like a genetically engineered T-virus, picked up and repeated across a number of sites even as it was being aggressively debunked by various experts. The problem? The news had nothing to do with a new plan to provide Americans with free WiFi, but rather a long standing plan to make so-called White Spaces spectrum, currently controlled by TV broadcasters, available for unlicensed uses. Snore. This is a controversial proposal mired in bureaucracy that promises to do nothing for free. If it ever gets approved, it will require a significant infrastructure build, lots of investment and, most likely, companies on the other end demanding payment. Karl Bode of DSL Reports scored a direct hit to the head on this zombie, completely decapitating the Post’s article. The news was pegged to the latest set of comments delivered on the White Spaces plan, he writes, citing an interview with the Post author. This is a minor development that would normally barely get noted by the very lobbyists paid hundreds of dollars an hour to track this kind of stuff. The report included some significant embellishments and misunderstandings and that’s what got other news sites excited — BRAINS! See Jon Brodkin’s thorough summary on Ars Technica. As of this writing, several erroneous stories were still seen limping and staring vacantly into space. Don’t get bitten:

FCC Proposes Free WiFi For Everyone In The U.S.

FCC wants free WiFi for all

Government Wants to Create Free Public 'Super Wi-Fi'

Telecom Corporations Are Trying To Stop The Government From Offering Free 'Super Wi-Fi'

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.