Public Wi-Fi: Good and Bad?

Public Wi-Fi is topic that has been widely debated in the past several years, but I think it has the ability to grant us more benefits than disadvantages. In this day and age, access to the internet has become more of a need than a desire due to our reliance on it. Most people don’t know how to get to certain places without the use of Google Maps, even if they have been there several times in the past. The younger generation view it as a necessity in order to have a social life, they conduct their daily lives. Along with this, a commonly held belief is that productivity will go up if there is Wi-Fi accessible to everyone publicly. With access to a free source of Wi-Fi, individuals are able to work from wherever they like. It would also be useful for those who are unable to gain access to the Internet from their private homes. People who cannot afford an internet subscription or a data plan are able to use public Wi-Fi access to stay in pace with others who can.

I think that this idea has both its ups and downs. While I agree it may be a strong tool to increase productivity, it may also deter it. People may be more likely to get distracted without direct supervision. It could also have increasingly dangerous impacts in regards to those who are driving. With access to Wi-Fi, drivers may not be paying the attention to the road they should, but pedestrians may also be staring at their phones without fear of consequence. There are also issues of security attached to access of public Wi-Fi. People who access the Wi-Fi could potentially have their credit card and other personal information stolen.

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One Response to Public Wi-Fi: Good and Bad?

  1. As much as I think that it would be very useful, I don’t think it’d be a good idea to have ubiquitous public wi-fi. However, to have it in public parks and plazas is definitely a plus. As you said, it is very important to us in this day and age for our daily activities. I think it would definitely promote park and plaza usage. People already go to Starbucks or libraries, etc. for the wi-fi, to have it in a public space such as a park might make it even more far-reaching for people to use. Sometimes you have to purchase something in order to go into certain areas that offer wi-fi. Granted, libraries are a great source of public wi-fi, but they are not as utilized anymore. Wi-fi in parks and plazas would not only offer more spaces with public wi-fi, but also the accessibility to wi-fi. These are not places you have to pay to get into, anyone can go into a park and get work done or whatever, which is, in my opinion, a lot nicer than sitting in a library. You don’t get a lot of opportunities to enjoy nature in the city, and wi-fi in public parks might promote that as a secondary effect.

    Furthermore, as you stated, Daniel, you can use the wi-fi to find your way around. A lot of times, like in Central Park, there are only so many maps around the park and tourists might not know which way they’re going or where to find the next map.

    I agree that cyber-security is a major issue with public wi-fi, but that is a personal problem that can be addressed by not doing anything that needs a secure network on these public networks. It’s just common sense to not do your banking or anything like that over an unrestricted network.

    I think that the Link NYC program is a good idea, but the screens and internet access via those street level pillars was an obvious mistake. Having essentially a computer out in the open for anyone to use is just asking for that privilege to be abused. How did they not see it coming that people would use these computers for their own enjoyment. If they are unmonitored, as initially rolled out, the opportunity for inappropriate behavior is obvious.


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