Time Warner Cracking Down On Free WiFi Access Points

from the what-isn't-stealing-these-days? dept

This isn’t particularly surprising, but Time Warner Cable in NYC has decided to send out threatening letters to NYC residents (NYTimes article, registration etc) who they believe are offering up WiFi access to their cable service. They’re (of course) afraid that if someone boosts the signal enough, then suddenly all those potentially paying customers will be getting something (gasp!) for nothing. Interestingly, they sent the note to someone who claims he’s never set up a wireless network and doesn’t have any wireless equipment himself. Nice of them to do their homework before threatening legal action. Politech also has some details about the letters (for those of you who’d like to avoid the NYTimes registration). They have an email from someone who received the letter, someone defending the letter, and finally the text of the letter itself. The NYTimes points out, by the way, that some smaller ISPs are touting their service as being open WiFi “friendly”, in the hopes that it will encourage people to sign up with them. Once again, when a big company tries to prevent giving customers what they want, a small competitor will step in and provide it. Now the big companies will (1) lose their original customers and (2) still not get access to all the people who would have been using the shared access.

Rate this comment as insightful
Rate this comment as funny
You have rated this comment as insightful
You have rated this comment as funny
Flag this comment as abusive/trolling/spam
You have flagged this comment
The first word has already been claimed
The last word has already been claimed
Insightful Lightbulb icon Funny Laughing icon Abusive/trolling/spam Flag icon Insightful badge Lightbulb icon Funny badge Laughing icon Comments icon

Comments on “Time Warner Cracking Down On Free WiFi Access Points”

Subscribe: RSS Leave a comment
werty (user link) says:

Everyone wants something for nothing

Can you blame TWC for protecting its market? The user license agreement states that one modem is good for one connection only (or some such; I don’t have it in front of me). They never anticipated freeloaders would piggyback on one magnanimous subscriber’s open port, nor should they.

I’m surprised the same WiFi proponents aren’t mad at Starbucks for charging for Internet access. The average Internet yap likes to ignore the fact that companies need to make money.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Everyone wants something for nothing

Yeah, I’m not saying I blame TWC for trying to protect their market. I’m just saying that it’s interesting that (1) they obviously didn’t do much research in choosing who to threaten and (2) that other companies are coming along and catering to the folks who do want to offer open WiFi access. In that case, TWC loses more business by trying to “protect” it’s market… so it doesn’t seem like that smart of a strategy.

Anyway, I never ignore the fact that companies need to make money. However, I disagree with the assertion that many people are making these days that companies have a fundamental right to their flawed business model. Plenty of companies go out of business every year, and it’s mostly because they simply can’t give customers what they want. Complaining that customers won’t pay you for what they don’t want doesn’t seem like a really visionary business strategy.

As for your Starbucks example, I don’t see why you think that’s true. I don’t think anyone has an issue with anyone doing what the company wants, in terms of charging. It’s just when they prevent the users from doing what the user wants, that they get upset.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

Just because the user wants to do something doesn’t mean he should be able to.

Good businesses figure out how to give a customer what he or she wants. Bad businesses figure out that a customer has figured out how to get what he or she wants and tries to prevent that from happening.

You’re right. It doesn’t mean he should be able to, but if he wants to do so, then that’s a business opportunity for someone… and as is pointed out in the article, there are clearly others willing to provide the service.

Add Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Comment Options:

Make this the or (get credits or sign in to see balance) what's this?

What's this?

Techdirt community members with Techdirt Credits can spotlight a comment as either the "First Word" or "Last Word" on a particular comment thread. Credits can be purchased at the Techdirt Insider Shop »

Follow Techdirt

Techdirt Daily Newsletter

Techdirt Deals
Techdirt Insider Discord
The latest chatter on the Techdirt Insider Discord channel...