Corporate Sponsors Of Open Wireless Access?

from the interesting-idea... dept

In the ongoing battle between free vs. fee WiFi, people on the paid-WiFi side keep asking where’s the business model for free WiFi. While it’s been explained many times (usually to bring in more customers…) there are a number of different business models that free WiFi can take. Here’s an example of a slightly different one. Wired Magazine, which has recently gone wireless crazy (think they regret their name?) has decided to pay for the “unwiring” of NYC’s Union Square Park (press release, since no major news source seems to have picked up on the story yet). Of course, free WiFi in NYC parks has been a big thing, but is usually looked down upon by those in the “established” wireless industry for not having any business model. This, however, shows a potential business model for free WiFi in open spaces: corporate sponsorship. I’m not sure how the Union Square deal will be set up, but Wired Magazine is clearly getting some promotional value out of it. I could see similar setups, where free WiFi in public places is “sponsored” by certain companies. That is, when you first open your browser, a proxy server takes you to a quick page that just says “this free WiFi brought to you by…” and lets you go on your merry surfing ways. Thanks to DailyWireless for pointing out this story.

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