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Survey:: WiFi anyone?

More and more I find myself using wifi to connect to the internet on my laptop. I am really lucky in that laptop has built in card, and that there are tons of hotspots on the streets of Central London. Never takes more than 5 minutes of wandering around to find an access point.

Is this going to go the way of the mobile, where one cannot imagine how we lived without them, or shall it forever be a geek and business traveller niche?

Tapiwa
Monday, November 03, 2003

Just curious Tapiwa, are the hot spots free or do you have to have a subscription?

I encounter T-mobile spots in Starbucks locations, and "Sip & Surf" in indendent coffee shops.  I've paid for access in airports a few times - cannot remember the provider name.  Occaisionally I find a no fee spot, but personally, the only time I feel compelled to pay for access is in airports - and only then if I'm seriously laid over.

nat ersoz
Monday, November 03, 2003

There are quite a few pubs in the UK that have signed up to various subscriptions schemes to give free access. That is, they pay a subscription to have the access point to attract customers in. Doesn't sound like they will make anyone any money for anyone to me, directly or indirectly, so I can't imagine they will be around that long.

Dominic Fitzpatrick
Monday, November 03, 2003

There was a nice article in the Philadelphia Inquirer last week (perhaps Tuesday) about free WiFi hotspots.  Specifically it was a coffe shop although they referenced a few others.

The store owner seemed to be quite pleased with the increase in traffic and the amount of people coming into check email and drink coffee.  He said the number of freeloaders was quite small.

If it increases business by more than it costs, its a worthwhile investment.  Sounds like it was in this case.

Lou
Monday, November 03, 2003

In central London, there are enough free ones to not have to pay.

That said, places like starbucks that have the T-Mobile whatchamacallit are very expensive. A bit silly when there are tons of internet cafes around.

Walk down Oxford Street, and there are quite a few. Ditto for Edgware Road, and Kings Cross. The City too, although tall buildings and narrow roads make for bad reception.

Tapiwa
Monday, November 03, 2003

I suspect that WiFi, as a wireless technology, will become as behind-the-scenes as regular ethernet especially as computing becomes much more mobile.

I'm not sure about the viability of commercial Wifi roaming.  Nothing's important enough to pay for on a routine basis.  I'm actually more likely to upgrade my cell and use 2.5g/3g data services than pay for starbucks wireless.

I'm certain about the viability of free Wifi.  Given a series of coffeeshop-styled-establishments, I'd rather spend time in the free wifi one.  Given the choice between two hotels, I'll chose the one with free wifi.

Flamebait Sr.
Monday, November 03, 2003

I live in Canada but have been maintaining a $20/month account with my old U.S. internet provider so I can have dialup access whenever I travel on business in the United States. But now that WiFi is becoming so ubiquitous in the cities I'm most likely to travel to, I'm going to drop the ISP account. There are much better things I could do with $240 a year.

Brad
Monday, November 03, 2003

The quote I like best about free WiFi is:

"What's the business model for free bathrooms?"

Pay WiFi is going to die everywhere except a few hold-outs that have a business model based on a "captive audience," like some of the hotel chains.

Otherwise, WiFi is the ultimate commodity.

Reginald Braithwaite-Lee
Tuesday, November 04, 2003

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