I thought this article from the Wall Street Journal was interesting. It talks about a couple of different approaches to spreading Wi-Fi out for free. Some cities and communities, such as San Francisco, are trying to offer Wi-Fi for free to everyone. Other companies, such as Time Warner Cable, are trying to create a social network of Wi-Fi users to profit off of. The writer of the article does not give a clear answer to which technology will work best, he just says some combination of them will definately give everyone wireless access in the coming years.
Here are the last couple of lines I thought were funny:
"When first introduced, [air-conditioning] was a luxury item," Mr. Spiegel notes. "Stores that installed it saw a benefit. As it became more available, more and more stores added it and it became more of a cost of doing business."
So it will be with wireless. And as with air-conditioning, we'll be startled to find ourselves going without now and again. We'll even feel nostalgic about it.