How can there be a controversy? If municipalities want to provide free high-speed access to their citizenry, who would object? Answer: telecos and ISPs that believe that such free access will limit their ability to make a profit. David Weinberger is at a meeting called "Freedom to Connect" and has a nice post about the Muni-Wifi discussion. Here in New Orleans a showdown is brewing and the city’s chief technology officer, Greg Meffert, is digging in his heels. I have posted several things about this topic before.
The bottom line is that people are increasingly going to expect high speed connectivity, especially the free kind. Are those expectations realistic? Maybe not now, but then most technological revolutions started out with unrealistic expectations. The question is whether the expectations are persistent. Methinks they are.