Hotspot Providers Class Of 2001: Where Are They Now?
With the closing of Cometa, Glenn Fleishman has put together a great “where are they now?” type of article, looking at the various hotspot providers he profiled in a NY Times article a little over three years ago. The space has been fun to watch over that time, and it’s been interesting to see how the market has changed over time and how some companies have made the same mistakes all over again. Ever since the first crew of companies started to go out of business, we’ve held that being a just hotspot provider, expecting people to pay for access is not a sustainable business model. Wayport is the closest to proving us wrong, but their business model is morphing as well – and I’m not convinced they’ve really figured it out yet either. Providing for-fee WiFi is a huge challenge: you still have expensive infrastructure and maintenance questions, and you are increasingly competing with both free WiFi and alternative means of wireless (or even wired) access. Any model that relies on people paying for access isn’t a business model that will last.