The Island of WiFi

Wired posts this story about an island in the Pacific that has given all residents free WiFi...

"Even though the number of places where people can get Wi-Fi Internet access has exploded -- 20,000 Wi-Fi "hot spots" exist worldwide today and that number is expected to skyrocket to 190,000 in 2007, according to market research firm IDC -- there is little evidence that people are paying to use the service.....Plenty of anecdotal evidence indicates that groups are putting up free hot spots, while the for-pay ones are suffering. At Starbucks, for example, only "tens of thousands" of customers are paying to use the company's much-publicized Wi-Fi network, out of 22 million who file through the company's stores every week, a company representative said. The network has been up and running since August in 2,100 -- or 60 percent -- of Starbucks coffee shops in North America. "

Oh yeah. Once I found Panera in Mishawaka and the Traverse City hotspots for free...never in a million years would I pay for access...if I'm travelling, as I soon will be to LITA and Internet Librarian 2003 , I'll find some kind of connection!

I think Starbucks should re-examine their T-Mobile deal (I have a T-Mobile phone I love, don't get me wrong) and look at offering FREE FREE FREE access. Or make it so cheap it's obscene: a Chai, a scone and access for an hour for $5! :-)

The Wired article does go on to say ISPs etc will need to look at their business models.

Libraries are doing it well...establishing the idea of a commons where people can meet and greet and get access.... Starbucks...Borders... take note!

Posted: Mon - July 14, 2003 at 07:30 PM