Venice: Internet Access As Birthright

There’s getting it and then there is really getting it.

“Venice provides free Internet access to newborns”

Venice will become the first city in the world to provide newborn residents with free Internet access, a spokeswoman for the city council said Friday.

Newborns will receive a user ID and password entitling them to free Internet access at the same time as they get their birth certificate, the spokeswoman said.

“The resident’s new digital identity will give free access to the Web, because we consider that’s an important universal right,”


(From NetworkWorld via the inestimable Baller list.)

After Thought: Yes, the remark about New Orleans is snarky. I suppose sad recent news has made the residents of other sinking cities a bit nervous… Another connection: Where Venice is using a fiber infrastructure to power a municipal wifi system in hopes of keeping from sinking financially as well as physically that avenue to pride and hope was closed to New Orleans by the incumbent’s (un)Fair Competiton act and Cox and AT&T’s unwillingness to give the city a break when it became apparent that a law aimed at Lafayette was doing unintended damage to a city staggered by Katrina. We can all hope that one consequence of the change in Washington is real change in telecom policy that would allow communities to use their own resources as they see fit. At the very least maybe they will go ahead and pass that bill that been pending for years to gaurantee that the states can’t forbid municipal networks.

There was a time, not all that long ago where Louisiana voices were front and center on the community side of this issue. If Tauzin and Breaux had had their way maybe New Orleans could be bragging on, and attracting business on the basis of, their shiny new muni wifi network. Landreiu? Melancon? You listening? Want a good way use your new found power and influence? Be seen as progressive? Help communities?