Skype Co-Founder Wants Free Broadband For All Americans

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Skype Co-Founder Wants Free Broadband For All Americans
[ Technology]

Operating under the mission statement of “the Internet is a right, not a privilege,” Niklas Zennstrom, one of the co-founders of Skype, has introduced an idea of bringing free broadband services to the United States, one that would be powered LightSquared, a wholesale wireless broadband network carrier.

Zennstrom is now part of FreedomPop, the group partnering with LightSquared to bring this huge undertaking to life. Apparently, the services will be offered by the FreedomPop company and the infrastructure necessary to support such a massive service will be provided by LightSquared’s existing wireless network. Currently, LightSquared is in the process of rolling out a 4G-LTE network, and it’s expected to be available later in 2012.

While the infrastructure and the other details concerning a nationwide broadband network are still in the gestation stage, the technical details are not the driving force behind this service. The goals of the partnership is. Simply put, FreedomPop thinks all Americans should have access to high-speed Internet connections, and instead of talking about it, they are working to make such a dream a reality. Some press release quotes from both companies indicate as much:

“The Internet is a right, not a privilege,” said Matt Ingrid, COO of FreedomPop. “With the economic efficiencies delivered by LightSquared’s wholesale business model, we can achieve our objective to deliver flexible high-speed wireless access to anyone at a fraction of the cost and inconvenience seen in today’s market.”


“FreedomPop represents the kind of disruptive service model that LightSquared is enabling, and shares our belief that broadband access is a right for everyone,” said Sanjiv Ahuja, chairman and chief executive officer of LightSquared. “Our nationwide network will allow FreedomPop to make a profound impact by delivering affordable high-speed wireless access to underserved communities across the country.”

The question is, would the traditional powers-that-be in the Internet service provision industry allow such a service to operate? Would AT&T/Verizon/Comcast/Time-Warner be open to a competitor that offers a free version of a service the previous companies charge a premium for? Comcast wasn’t too pleased when Google discussed bringing its free fiber optic network to Ann Arbor, Michigan, so it’s doubtful they would welcome the LightSquared/FreedomPop partnership with open arms, either.

Is a broadband connection to the Internet a human right or a privilege? What about running water and electricity? While it may be a stretch to compare these services, some clearly believe a high speed Internet connection is as much a human right as clean water.

Another point to consider is how would the traditional ISPs react if FreedomPop’s vision become reality? What if they actually build the infrastructure capable of supporting such a potentially huge amount of users? Would that mean companies like the aforementioned ISPs be willing to match FreedomPop’s offer, or at least improve upon their “last mile” infrastructure so they can offer increased speeds that people would consider paying for?

Skype Co-Founder Wants Free Broadband For All Americans
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  • Adam

    High speed internet a basic human right? Wow. I think perhaps we’ve completely lost touch with what we “need” and what we “want”.

    • Adam

      Let me just add that I lived the first 16 years of my life without high speed internet. :-)

  • http://www.ebook-site.com Bryan Quinn

    Very unlikely and totally impractical.

  • Jared V

    LightSquared is imploding. This is drivel unless Zennstrom kicks in $1.5B to keep it afloat and redesign their sloppy transceivers that currently splatter onto GPS frequency bands.

  • Spam Exterminator

    I say they have the resources and are capable of pulling it off and aren’t just doing it for a Monopoly then screw the other companies. There isn’t many who offer high speed in my area and the ones who do, over charge for unreliable service. I had Virgin Mobile’s 3G Unlimited plan but I spent more time trying to get a connection than I did actually being connected. They was about the only one that I could get service with way out here in the sticks, them And satellite. Virgin offered faster for less but had connectivity and network issues and satellite wasn’t that much more reliable than wireless nor much faster than dial up for more $$$. So if they want to offer high speed internet for free I’ll be 1st on that band wagon. All nay-sayers think of it this way; they can’t control what the utility companies charge, they don’t have the equipment to purify your water or air, they don’t have the power to magically create new resources. What they do have is knowledge and technology they can use to improve your life the only way they know how, better and cheaper technology. The other companies deserve what they get since they was only in it for the $$$ and didn’t give a crap about it’s customers. If they cared they would be the ones working on this to offer it’s customers better service for less money. But now someone says; hey I got a idea for a new and better service and best of all I’ll offer it free. But now they get all pissy because; 1 The techies of these other companies probably already know about the new technologies but it would cost money so if they decided to go with it, it would be slowly implemented 2 They wouldn’t offer the service for less they would most likely charge more for it. 3 They would also probably limit it to people who are willing to sign a contract. and 4 They stand to loose millions. and it all could of been avoided if they weren’t so damn greedy.

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