Communal wireless internet access?

Via SmallBizBlog we get the news from ITbusiness about a move to provide wireless access in Canadian cities. Bell Canada and Rogers Communication are working on such a deal right now.
That’s somewhat good news, I think. But the deal should be bigger and include other service providers too. Shaw and Telus come to mind in BC, for example.
What if all the access providers contributed a portion of our monthly fees to pay for sharing and maintaining the ‘pipes’, so to speak. We could choose a provider for service, price, logistics, or convenience at our main base, and from then on, have access to the internet. Period. The providers would have a chance then to win our hearts and business (hah).
I think the cell companies call it ‘roaming’. Overly expensive the way it works now, but it does work in a pinch. Certainly better than having a separate account for each and every location you might want to call from.
It’s fine for these large companies to set up additional proprietary networks, but if we want to really exploit the internet for all it’s worth, we can’t all be cloistered around our individual service providers for access. People move around to do business these days, and business and the internet are inextricably linked for most of us.
The ITbusiness article also notes a push for cities to provide free wireless access as a public utility. There’s been lots of arguing about this in the US as well. Free internet services may or may not be good idea, but somewhere, someone has to make enough money to keep the ‘pipes’ working. I’m not sure another tax (+GST) is the answer.
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