Roland Dürre
Saturday August 29th, 2015

“Why Don’t You Have A Euro-Flat-Rate?

A short time ago, a friend of mine who also spends his vacation here asked me this question. After all, he knows how much I travel in Germany and Europe. Well, the question astounded me – and I was wondering why, indeed, do I not have one? As it is, I always have to beg for WLAN passwords. Wouldn’t it be convenient if I could always have access to the internet, no matter where I am and independent from the WLAN drama in Germany and some other countries?

As always, I needed a few days to think about it. And each day, it became clearer to me why, indeed, I do not wish to have this kind of flat-rate. And that, in my opinion, this is the wrong approach. Which is also why I will continue to always look for the nearest hotspot on my travels.

First and foremost, I simply find it too complicated. After all, during my travels, I also use several devices for access to the internet. Besides my Android-Smart-Phone, there are two tablets: a big one if I carry a lot of luggage and a small one, for example for bike tours. Sometimes I travel with the MacBook Air – in order to be able to work efficiently – and sometimes with the Chromebook. Or, as now in our tent, I have both of them with me.

And I definitely do not feel like equipping all my devices to make them become mobile radio compatible. And to me, “tethering” also looks like a less than optimal solution. The rechargeable battery of the mobile telephone will be empty in no time. Some way or other, that is also too complicated. After all, all my devices have the WLAN function as a matter of course.

And when all is said and done, the world-wide transmitter towers erected by the telecom companies, too, are not really sufficient. Which means that I would not really gain very much. But deep down, my refusal of private flat-rates has philosophical reasons. Basically, I do not wish access to the internet at all times and in all places. For me, it is totally sufficient if I get the chance to access the network once in a while on my travels. For instance in the evening at the hotel or on the campground.

And there are certainly more than enough WLAN networks wherever I stay. Unfortunately, however, and for totally irrational reasons, they are often nailed shut with passwords. I find it a fair and uncomplicated procedure to share WLAN hot-spots for high-power networks.

Perhaps a good metaphor for using private flat-rates world-wide is individual and private mobility. That is also an area where they thought they could do without making the transport of materials and humans a common duty as long as everybody has his or her private means of transportation. Then we got the many small and big vehicles with the combustion motors that alone make you independent. Which is what caused the traffic mania of private mobility with all the consequences we see every day.

Consequently, I find fixed networks with open WLAN subsystems “on the last mile” better suited for my vision of a “Common Land World” than private and competing telecom companies.

There is a constantly growing awareness inside me of how many resources belong to all of us, that is: humans as an entity. And that we should not and must not use and destroy those resources as we wish and in private for unimportant things. Because soil, nature and water are too precious for our survival and the survival of the next generations.

One of the commodities I would also count among the Common Land is, for example, the absence of noise. There is no doubt that the thoughtless, accidental or also voluntary generation of noise destroys your quality of life. And that is why I only generate noise when this is absolutely necessary and avoid it wherever I can.

Free communication is a basic need of the modern world. We need it for our future. Would it not be nice if the access to all information of this world and the network connecting us all also were some kind of Common Land? A civil right for all humans. Like the air, which transports WLAN. Without any private special treatment?

(Translated by EG)

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