On WiFi Business Models

Having recently gone through a bit of a debate with Alan Reiter and Glenn Fleishman on business models surrounding WiFi hotspots, it’s interesting to read other discussions on the topic. Dave Sifry, who (among many many other things) founded the WiFi company Sputnik, weighs in with his very interesting thoughts on WiFi-based business models. He brings up a lot of important issues for anyone trying to charge for WiFi, and tears down a number of proposed business models based on his own real-world experiences. Definitely worth reading. As a summary, though, he points out that making money on the service side is incredibly difficult (too many hands in the pot, and too much competition from free). He also makes the valuable point (and this is true for any business) that none of the business models will work if they’re based on forcing customers to do things they don’t want to do.

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