Sky Dayton: Wi-Fi? Why Not?
Boingo has certainly received a lot of attention about their plans to let people connect to wifi networks all over the world. However, Wired takes a closer look at Boingo’s business and brings up a lot of questions. They did some empirical testing and went to some locations that were heavily advertised by Boingo as being covered only to find that these high-end hotels had no idea what “Bongo” was (I experienced the same thing last year trying to connect to a MobileStar connection at a hotel in San Francisco). The article also points out that Sky Dayton’s claims that small cafes and businesses adding wifi will bring in more customers could backfire. If that’s true, the article says, why would the companies want to use Boingo? Why not just offer the service for free, get more customers, and focus on getting money from their core business – without having to worry about being an ISP? It also seems that many of Boingo’s “partners” aren’t at all happy with Boingo, and are looking to get out of the relationship. They point out that Boingo isn’t anything other than a marketing company with some simple client software, piggybacking on the networks of others. However, at the very end of the article, the writer comes up with the “conspiracy” theory that Dayton’s real plan for Boingo is to wait until the various telco companies build their own wifi networks, and will run the ISP for them.