Free Wireless On Newbury Street With Commercial Interests

from the free-wireless,-commercial-business dept

With all the talk of commercial WiFi hotspots, the media always seems to present it as a battle between businesses who want to charge and “community groups” who want it for free. However, as we’ve argued many times before, it is possible (and often it makes tremendous sense) for commercial businesses to offer something for free as a promotional item for some other aspect of their business. Now Wired is running a profile of the well-known Newbury Open free WiFi network on Newbury Street in Boston. While it’s not all that different from any other free WiFi network in appearance the “big difference” is that it’s supported by a single company. It covers a good portion of the street, and acts as free publicity for Tech Superpowers, an Apple reseller, who put together the network and installed the access points along the street. There are no fees and no sign up screens. You just start using the network. The only “cost” is that (if you’re browsing the web) a pop up ad will show up every 3 or 4 hours. Michael Oh, who set up the network, says that it’s given Tech Superpowers a ton of free publicity.

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