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JLeslie's avatar

Should everyone have WiFi access paid through property taxes?

Asked by JLeslie (61643points) August 8th, 2020 from iPhone

For 15 years I’ve heard arguments for cities to put in WiFi and charge the fees through property taxes so all levels of income in all parts of a city would have WiFi. I have no idea how this argument might be changing with 5G coming online, and certainly covid puts a new perspective on the need for it, especially regarding children needing to do school online.

It seems like it’s time now to actually work on getting something done to make internet universally available.

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15 Answers

stanleybmanly's avatar

I believe it is becoming increasingly obvious that access to wifi is as crucial as roads and bridges. As a matter of crucial infrastructure, internet connectivity is right up there with potable water lines, sewers and public street lighting.

anniereborn's avatar

I think so, yes.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

WiFi is only good for 150 feet, max maybe 300 hundred feet outdoors nothing in-between. 5G may answer the high speed in urban settings. We have “Giga” available from city utility, they do natural gas, water, sewer, TV cable and high internet but you receive a monthly bill for each item total on one bill.

JLeslie's avatar

@Tropical_Willie Yeah, if it is billed just based on the service, like a utility, and everyone pays the same, it won’t work for lower income. When I lived in Tennessee my fire protection was on my utility bill, but it was based on the property size or something. I know larger houses paid more. I would have preferred it paid in taxes so I could have written it off of my federal taxes, but now with the $12K per person taken off of the top it is harder to itemize anyway.

I think about when I stay in a hotel, they have wifi for the entire building.

Another question in my mind is are these cable companies making a fortune? Is their profit very high? I haven’t looked into it, but the prices for internet are so high. The cable company business seems like a racket to me. I’m so tired of all the gouging in so many businesses.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@JLeslie The hotel has several WiFi hot spots; one or more per floor by my observations. 150 foot rule kicks in real quick with many people trying to to use WiFi and concrete walls !

Profit is not high in my area the city has high speed internet, Phone company and Cable is Spectrum. If they up the price; you’ve got two choices.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I don’t think the interior walls are concrete. Still, point taken about the need for many hot spots.

I just upgraded to 1 gig, which has turned out to be about 350 upload and 350 download. I guess that’s 5G? I’ve had a few problems with connection, but they are fleeting. I also wonder if that’s more likely to give me cancer if you believe it give us cancer.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

Staying in the sunlight too long will be more likely to give you cancer.

Blackberry's avatar

Wow that’s a really good idea.

johnpowell's avatar

There was a study about 15 years ago that said you could run fiber to something like 90% (United States) of the population for around 80 Billion.

No clue what that would cost now with rising wages but also the equipment and materials are much cheaper now. So maybe around the same or cheaper. This would be a one-off cost and most would go into employees pockets and would get pushed right back into the economy, and taxed.

That black-hole of 500 billion that was in the first covid package was a joke. Maybe we should have tossed out 20% of that to wire up America for the future. 100 billion is pocket change.

I have gig fiber at my house. It is 65 a month and they say that is the lifetime price.

JLeslie's avatar

^^I have gig and phone lifetime price for $65.

elbanditoroso's avatar

I am OK with the concept of universal wifi for all.

I am not OK with the property tax link.

JLeslie's avatar

@elbanditoroso How would you pay for it?

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@JLeslie a monthly bill from the internet provider, like today.

Taxing people just to tax them for a service they may not use, there are people that don’t want internet.

JLeslie's avatar

@Tropical_Willie If it is like today then it will still be like today.

elbanditoroso's avatar

@JLeslie – my water bill comes from the County Water department

My electric bill comes from EMC (Cooperative) that delivers power,

My Trash pickup bill comes quarterly from the sanitation people.

Why would internet be different?

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