Thursday, June 09, 2005

Wireless Hotspots Should Be Free!

Since going wireless broadband at home my world view has changed.

Sunshine and I pulled into a MacD's on the way home the other night.. no that's not the world view change I'm talking about.. and while woofing down the chips I happened to notice a cardboard add poking up in front of me on the table. I don't normally notice adds in such places - the monotone surroundings kinda numbs my observational techniques, but this one was saying something to me.

On closer inspection I say what it was that was attracting me to it - its was the wireless hotspot being mentioned.

I had heard of this from a student of mine, and since getting broadband wireless at home, I must admit I have dreamed of such a day coming, but I had no idea it was already just around the corner, already here in fact!

So far, Telstra Wireless Hotspots appear to be offered in loads of places but there's a catch... you have to login and pay for it :(
I always thought the best things in life were free!

Even when the rationalist appeared on my shoulder and tried to explain to me why I would have to pay for such a thing, it didn't make sense!

Here I am, sitting in MacaD's, woofing down my chips. I see the wireless being offered and am ready to run to the car and fetch the laptop and start checking email, upload a few files to my server etc. "Gee! I might have to buy myself a coffee, and maybe some more chips" I think to myself, but then Sunshine points out the small print and the whole idea leaves me and we go home to do it.

Why would they charge for something people have at home anyway? And at $5 per 15 minutes at that! Can't they see that a free service will attract people (never everybody) to their bizness, and therefore generate sales on the products and services they offer? Heck! it will even generate loyal customers for a while!!? Even if a single MacaD's restaurant just bought a $50 a month account and sat a wireless modem on their bench, theoretically they could offer connectivity to the 1 in 10 customers that would appreciate it at very little cost to them at all!

Anyway, its still exciting that wireless everywhere is coming. I just hope more of our libraries, schools, TAFE's and universities jump on it soon... less the crappy bizness idea.

Free access for all! Not just the rich!...


Sean said...

Free wireless? Tell the poor people in Pennsylvania that!
On another angle - the US has quite a history of cafes and other businesses offering free wifi (I was quite envious when I was in the US last year - I'm taking a laptop next time!) However there's been a trend of late of turning the networks off - NY Times article, at least some of the time, partly because of all the freeloaders who sit there all day without buying a thing, partly because of complaints it has killed cafe culture, with people staring like zombies into their computers, oblivious to those around them.

Leigh Blackall said...

hmmm, interesting reading thanks Sean, it should at least be free in Libraries, schools and colleges hey?