Simple Solutions #4: Internet Access For All

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In this series I posit some unconventional/ will-never-be-tried solutions to problems of our times.

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Most people pay for always-on internet access at home, but when “on the go” it is not always easy to access the internet without incurring silly charges. OK, you can buy more internet access as part of your mobile phone package deal, but chances are even that is silly money -and anyway, you only want to check your emails/ have a quick browse to check the price on a TV online before you purchase locally (or not).

Why should you pay more than once for “always on” internet access?

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THE PROBLEM: Mobile internet access is too expensive, but if I want it “on the go” -even in short bursts- I gotta pay even though I already pay for home broadband.

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THE SOLUTION: Allow outside access to your wi-fi.

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OK, like yourself (if you have a passing knowledge of such things), I see obvious reasons not to do such a thing: security and bandwidth. Let’s deal with these individually:

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1. Security.

“Someone might pass by my window, detect my wi-fi, log on and compromise my entire network -delete files and take my identity!”

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Worst case scenario, this is true -a valid fear.

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However, there are ways and means to allow people to access the internet without allowing access to your internal network -it’s just nobody (that I know of) has built such an option into router firmware because …well… “who would want freeloading strangers hogging their bandwidth?”

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2. Bandwidth.

Many ISPs have a bandwidth cap. Others do not. Most people use a tiny percentage of their bandwidth potential. If the water is running freely anyway isn’t it a little selfish to not allow a thirsty passerby take a drink?

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Again, there are ways and means to monitor bandwidth usage and to disconnect greedy freeloaders. This could all be automated so it’s not like you’d even have to know -again you just need the right firmware for your router …firmware that hasn’t been written yet, possibly.

This firmware could allow a certain bandwidth ‘leakage’ per day and for any single user to use, say no more than 1% of that leakage.

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Of course this won’t be adopted because: …Actually I think this one would/ will be adopted once people get their heads around it and router firmware developers start building in these options.

(Alright, I freely admit there may be just such a massive movement already in operation -I haven’t done any homework on it, but I’m just saying it would be a ‘neat idea’… Also I freely admit to having no technical knowledge of such matters… it’s possible two routers would be required for security -even still, some of us would do it I’m sure -enough to set the trend!)

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So why open your wi-fi?

Stick it to the man. You don’t like double-paying. You already pay for more than you use anyway. Why pay “the man” just because you want it in another format too? It’s like buying a CD and having to pay again for an MP3.

Make what you don’t use available to others and they might do likewise. Soon everyone can access their emails/ do a quick browse/ Tweet/ etc. everywhere -including you.

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Even if it’s a long time before you find others doing it, I know all of us dream of being Robin Hood -that’s why it’s such an everlasting story. Now you too can be Robin Hood without even leaving your home!

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So, maybe you can’t do it right now, but if enough people have a wish to do something like this, then someone somewhere will make it happen (I know Google intend to make such a thing a reality anyway, so all of this could be unnecessary in time -that would make me very happy believe me).

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