Councilmember Orange wants to create a free WiFi task force - DC


Mar. 3, 2016 3:11 pm

Councilmember Orange wants to create a free WiFi task force

The bill that would create a task force comes after Ted Leonsis' call for free District-wide internet access.

Could be us.

(Photo by Flickr user Nicolas Nova, used under a Creative Commons license)

Remember two weeks ago when D.C. investor and entrepreneur Ted Leonsis called for District-wide free WiFi?

Well, one D.C. Councilmember seems to like that idea, and he’s doing his part to explore the possibility. Councilmember Vincent Orange introduced a new bill on Tuesday that would create a free WiFi task force “to determine the best route to free wireless internet access in the District of Columbia.”

The bill was cosponsored by three other Councilmembers including David Grosso, who has been a staunch proponent of expanding internet access.

In a statement, Orange argued that free WiFi would be an economic and civic good.

“The District should be aggressively pursuing ways to eliminate the digital divide to ensure that all of our residents are afforded access to have safe, secure, and fast internet capability and afford the opportunity to better their lives,” he said.

Of course there’s also the element of competition with other major metropolitan areas that already provide free municipal WiFi.

The task force would be required to meet at least eight times, and come up with all necessary policy recommendations for implementing free wireless internet access. Its members would also “explore and report on the feasibility of using municipal resources in a network that is available to the public.” Orange’s proposed deadline for a presentation of the task force’s findings? December 2017.

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier

Tajha Chappellet-Lanier was the lead reporter for DC. The California native previously worked for NPR and the editorial board at USA Today. She can talk travel plans all day, and has strong opinions on the best doughnut in D.C.


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