5 thoughts on “Fixed Price, then No Price WiFi”

  1. I’ve always been of the opinion that you should never have to pay for wifi in public places. It seems like the natural order of things. Do we pay for AM/FM radio? Then again I could be spoiled (http://www.fred-ezone.ca), but there’s never been anything other then free wifi for me.

  2. I agree … i think they key here is that WiFi should be used as a lure for something else. like selling coffee. I use hotspots, because well I like coffee houses. Normally I would buy my expresso for $2 and then move on. Instead if there was free WiFI, I could sit in the coffee hourse for say two hours and sip three expressos at $2 a pop instead. i am spending $6 there instead of $2 – i think free wifi makes sense in that situation

  3. I could not resist to comment on coffee house thing. Whether it makes sense or not to have free wifi for coffee lovers depends on how crowded coffee shop is. If it is not very popular then yes, they’d likely to see you spending $6 instead of $2. If place is hot, then they’d definitely want you to sip a cup in ..well 20 minutes and go away – that improves their time-per-cup-sold.

    And, in big malls, what prevents me from using coffee house wifi spot sitting in nearby McDonalds instead?

    From my point of view, wifi is going to be commodity much like wireless phones are now. Flat rate or pay-per-Mb, but paid – for sure.

  4. Interesting point about paying: until T-Mobile introduced 802.1X, there was very little difference between free and fee when you looked at reliable for-free locations. Put T-Mobile and, say, NewburyOpen.Net side by side, and what’s the difference?

    But with 802.1X, T-Mobile can assign a unique encryption key to every user in their location — it essentially obviates VPN service while providing effective WLAN security. It’s not perfect, but I would now prefer their network over another. I use SSL-based email now, but even so, I think I’d rather keep all my traffic private.

    The challenge is now to provide a way of creating 802.1X on the cheap–there are open-source solutions via FreeRADIUS and Open1X–so that free locations could have the same security benefit. But that requires user accounts, and that increases cost, complexity, and support.

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