The Press Suddenly Loves Free WiFi

Took them long enough. Plenty of people in the WiFi world have been explaining for years the basic economics of WiFi and why free WiFi makes sense. Now, suddenly, once Cometa goes bust, the press is fascinated with the idea of free WiFi as if it just came to them. Hence, we have Wired News and the NY Times rushing out articles about business models around free WiFi. On top of that, even certain companies are trying to get into the act by putting out press releases claiming that they’ve found the one true free WiFi business model. It’s time to realize that no one needs a “WiFi business model.” WiFi is simply a way to connect. Some businesses will figure out a way to take advantage of that, and use it to boost some other business model, but there’s no point in focusing on “how to make money off of WiFi.” It’s like trying to make money off of the highways. They’re all there, and some can make money off them indirectly (repairing highways, building businesses alongside highways, painting billboards along highways, etc.), but they’re not in the “highway business.” The highways are there, and they’re just taking advantage of that resource.

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