Cities Try To Cash In On WiFi

from the the-fourth-utility dept is running the typical story about WiFi these days. It basically covers the usual stuff about all the WiFi networks popping up, with a focus on whether or not the free and municipally funded networks will impact the paid hotspot business. Some think that WiFi will eventually become more of a utility. There’s even a quote from someone saying that apartment building owners will feel required to offer WiFi access to their tenants. Meanwhile, those who run paid hotspots say that people will pay for their services because of the “quality”. Of course, it won’t take people very long to figure out the quality is about the same in most places. I still think that the establishments (restaurants, coffee shops, bookstores, whatever) that offer for fee hotspots are missing the point. Offering free WiFi is likely to bring in more customers who will buy whatever products they’re actually selling. They should focus on what their business is, and not worry about becoming an ISP. The free WiFi acts as a promotional item. Paid-for WiFi becomes another product on their menu – which takes them out of their area of expertise.

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