By Don Sherman
Please be wary of granting any private enterprise exclusive use of city facilities.
Regarding wifi and cellular service, around 40-years ago, when the technology was new to most of us, Davis and many other US cities were seduced by carriers into granting exclusives in exchange for a few public access channels. Few would have imagined that these carriers would merge what is now a handful of enormous corporations controlling distribution of data, communications, and information.
The channels “given” cities have proven to be essentially worthless as they exist only as long as mostly unpaid volunteers are willing or available to maintain them. In what has developed as a world of hundreds of choices and the ease with which live or recorded video can now be transmitted to managed or unlimited audiences, viewing through their pocketable phones, tablets or their computers, there is little evidence of measurable viewing of the so-called “public” cable channels, Davis’ among them.
Please examine who benefits the most from that historical decision to grant exclusive access to one corporation.
Technology is continuously advancing. Almost as certainly as the rotation of the earth, the tech we take for granted and have come to expect to use 24/7, will be obsolete in most of our lifetimes.
One relevant example is the expected distribution 5G communication: with remarkably greater capacity and higher speeds than either today’s wi-fi or cellular.
If we are not sufficiently skeptical of commitments being asked of us now, let us, at the very least look at the proposal from WAVE, Astoound, or anyone seeking exclusivity in Davis from their point-of-view. Why do they think this is a good deal and why are they anxious to secure an exclusive deal before the next “big thing” comes along?
Would our city grant exclusive license to one real estate developer? One grocery chain?
One more question, before making such a commitment as WAVE proposes, does the City of Davis have the advice of experts on the level of the ones advising the Corporation to seek exclusive contracts with cities?