Prague Seeks City-wide Free Internet Zone

PRAGUE, Czech Republic -- The government here wants to allocate $4.1 million to create a free wireless network citywide, which has the country's largest telecom providers crying foul. Companies have sent a letter to the Information and Technology Ministry saying that Prague already has a developed Internet infrastructure and that the plan would hurt their businesses. "Operators who are members of our association have a very negative opinion of this plan," said Hana Jelinkova, executive director of the Association of Public Telecommunications Networks Operators (APVTS), which includes the country's top telecom providers. The proposal comes as more major cities, especially in the United States, are wrestling with offering municipal wireless services to get their citizens easy access to broadband. New York, San Francisco and New Orleans all plan to go wireless, and Philadelphia signed a deal with Earthlink Jan. 30 to get a citywide wireless network running by next year.