Public Wifi

When you go to Starbucks to get 5-dollar drink and sit down to do some homework you don’t think about the WiFi being slow. That is until it slows down enough for you to get frustrated. Public wifi is not a pure public good. Wifi that doesn’t have a password can be consumed by anyone in the vicinity. This is a non-excludable good however it is not exactly a non-rival good. Even though you can connect to the wifi it doesn’t mean the wifi is going to work fast. The wifi would be working fast if say only a few people were in the area connected to the wifi, but then say 10 people are using the wifi and someone is trying to download a large file. Then you could still consume the wifi, but it would be extremely slow. Everyone gets frustrated with the speed of his or her wifi. Nothing is ever fast enough for people now. However, when you go somewhere to use the wifi, like the library, you expect the wifi to be fast since it is public the company paying for the wifi should be paying for the fastest there is. That’s what people assume anyway. Wifi will never be a pure public good because of the different speeds people receive once more people start connecting.

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2 Responses to Public Wifi

  1. Junwei Zhang says:

    Indeed wifi will never be a pure public good. Most places require password for the wifi. Only a few places provide free access to wifi because they wanna have the customers consume their other products by consuming their wifi. It is a kind of tradeoff and makes both parties better off. Thus it is not a pure public good and it is not for everybody.

  2. willicod says:

    I agree with what has been said. Wifi can never be a pure public good with the rival nature of connections. The only situation I could think of making it more of a pure public good would be a public access in a place with an extremely limited population, where the connections wouldn’t be numerous enough to slow down the speed very much.

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