The ongoing expansion of the Internet to every corner of the globe can be seen in high-end projects such as Google’s Project Loon, that is using high altitude balloons to broadcast Internet cheaply to places it doesn’t currently reach. Though currently experimental, this has the potential to greatly expand the number of people online.
Meanwhile, China Mobile is helping to provide 4G Internet service to Mount Everest. The next World Cup will offer free wifi at 12 stadiums, and France is putting it into 100 rail stations. 20 U.S. airports will also get free wifi soon, with the tradeoff that users will experience a lot of ads. There is often some kind of tradeoff. Facebook has a limited program that will provide you with free wifi in some spots if you’re willing to give up your location. Some people do that anyway, so to them it may be no big deal.
Free wifi is somewhat risky, though. Experts warn against conducting financial transactions, as free networks are more vulnerable to hackers. Some places have lost their enthusiasm for providing this service, however. Coffee shops in Colorado are apparently starting to put limits on the use of free wifi, along with cutting off those power outlets users need. They are trying to cut down on visitors they describe as “laptop hobos.”
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