San Jose International: Free Wi-Fi

San Jose International Airport now provides free WiFi. It’s available in all public areas of both Terminal A and Terminal C. Later, free Wi-Fi will be included in the new Terminal B and North Concourse.

SJC is the first airport in the Bay Area to offer air passengers free WiFi, reports KCBS. The service was launched Friday morning. The goal of the service is to make San Jose the choice for Silicon Valley business air passengers. The WiFi is being paid for through online advertising and sponsorships.

“The revenue we get from advertising and sponsors will pay for the actual operation and installation,” explained airport spokesman David Vossbrink. “It has the potential for giving a little extra revenue over time.” They are partnering with Beaverton, Ore.-based Airport Marketing Income and AnchorFree, a Sunnyvale-based company, providing the advertising network (below).

The network, called SJCfreewifi, will compete with the airport’s fee-based Wi-Fi networks T-Mobile and Wayport. The airport’s cut of the profits from those networks is $139,000 a year, said communications director David Vossbrink, and that sum will decline if passengers opt to use the free service.

The airport spent $90,000 for the hardware, folding the Wi-Fi installation into the current airport renovation. The annual cost for broadband will be $41,000. The airport gets about 30,000 passengers each day, so officials estimate at least 1,000 people a day will use the free Wi-Fi.

Let’s estimate some (very gross) income:

If the 1000 daily users (X 350 days/yr) = 350,000 users/year, then perhaps they view (collectively) 1 million advertising impressions. If each of the 1 million impressions cost 10 cents each, then it might generate annual income of $100K/year.

Viewed another way, $100/day equals $36,500/year. So revenue would need to be approximately $250/day, or around $60-$80/day for 3-4 advertisers. That seems high to me. Half that fee seems more realistic.

Perhaps that’s why Microsoft’s Sideguide (left), with constantly changing ads and with context and historically aware insertion, was preferred by MetroFi.

It still seems like a legitimate model to me. If not for an entire city, then for downtown cores or high traffic areas. Newspapers ought to move right now.

Mobile WiMAX is more cost/effective — and could make it work. This year, baby. This year.

Fake Steve Talks

Dan Lyons, the man behind “The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs,” began his online experiment as the alter ego of Apple’s CEO mostly because he hated his job at Forbes, reports RCR Wireless News.

“My job sucked. It was so bad,” he said to raucous laughter during a 30-minute keynote here at the Mobile Entertainment Forum conference. “Covering IBM is like sticking your head in a meat grinder every day.”

So Lyons figured why not give this blogging thing a go. “I’m not old enough to retire and I don’t have enough money to retire, so I started freaking out, like really freaking out,” he said. “I thought I better get some online experience.”

When Lyons’ editors at Forbes rejected his request for a new blog or a job on the dot-com side of the operation, he struck out on his own in his free time.

His site grew to 90,000 unique visits and he’d sold a book all before anyone figured out who this anonymous Steve Jobs wannabe was.

A manhunt quickly got underway, brought on largely by a column from — wait for it — his editor at Forbes who set up a quasi-contest to out the Fake Steve Jobs.

“Finally he started writing to me trying to hire me at Forbes,” he said. “You mean the same assholes that wouldn’t hire me before?”

“I’m like, dude I work for you,” Lyons said to a now enthralled audience.

MetroFi: California, Here We Go!

Ladies and gentlemen… I’ve traveled over half our state to be here tonight. I couldn’t get away sooner because my new well was coming in at Coyote Hills and I had to see about it. That well is now flowing at two thousand barrels and it’s paying me an income of five thousand dollars a week. I have two others drilling and I have sixteen producing at Antelope. So, ladies and gentlemen… if I say I’m an oil man you will agree. — There Will Be Blood

MetroFi is hoping to sell all their municipal wireless systems, including their largest system in Portland, Oregon, now about 20% complete. In all, MetroFi had about 30,000 subscribers on its nine networks, which were funded primarily by advertising.

Last fall MetroFi told the city it would stop building the network unless the city bought “anchor tenant” services from them. The city’s contract with MetroFi never included a promise to buy services — and the city isn’t budging.

If MetroFi can’t find a buyer, they have threatened to stop service this June, and will dismantle the system.

Apparently it was no idle threat.

Last week, Foster City officials were told that MetroFi would cut off wireless services June 20. Yesterday, MetroFi sent the following email message to former users in the Sunnyvale area:

It is with great regret that we notify you of our need to discontinue the MetroFi FREE and MetroFi Premium services effective June 20, 2008 in Sunnyvale. It has been our pleasure to be your provider of Internet access and we have appreciated your support.

So that you do not find yourself without access to the Internet, please find another service provider as soon as possible.

The somber letter advised that ex-users check Wi-Fi Free Spot for alternative wi-fi hotspots.

MetroFi’s “free” service was enabled by Microsoft advertising technology, called SideGuide, which ran permanently on the left side of the browser.
Pundits are quick to call ad-funded municipal networks a failure. They say cities need to become “anchor tenants” for municipal wireless services.

But if that’s true, why is the FCC planning to auction off the 2150-2180 GHz band for “free” nationwide wireless services?

To the cable-less box.

The only one who called it correctly (in 2005) was John Dvorak. Related DailyWireless articles include $99 Settop = Free Triple Play?.

Martin at All Things Digital

The All Things Digital Conference, produced by Walt Mossberg and Kara Swisher, featured many newsworthy guests and interviews. John Paczkowski did a great job compiling D-6 Highlights.

The annual gathering was held in Carlsbad, California, from May 27 to 29. It featured interviews with Gates and Balmer, Melinda Gates, a Windows 7 Demo, Dean Kamen, Rupert Murdock, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner, Yahoo’s Jerry Yang and Sue Decker, Michael Dell, Barry Diller, Tom Rogers, CEO at TiVo, Howard Stringer, Jeff Bezos and Kevin Martin.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was given no slack. Mossberg questioned The Chairman about broadband leadership in the United States. Martin said high density cities were comparable. The agency has just bumped the definition of broadband to 768kbps (two commissioners voted against it).

The FCC at its June 12 meeting will likely vote on terms of the 2150-2180 spectrum auction that could include the free Internet service provision. A similar proposal was rejected last year.

“We support flexible auction rules that allow any and all entities to bid,” said Joe Farren, a spokesman for CTIA — The Wireless Association, whose members include AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless.

Of course truly free spectrum, like Wi-Fi’s 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, would not allow cellular operators to buy up the spectrum and remove it from competition.

Related DailyWireless stories include; FCC: Free Broadband at 2155-2180 MHz, Bill to Free 2155-2180 Mhz, Free 2155-2175 MHz!, M2Z Vrs FCC, Equal Access Happy Talk, Broadband Wireless — Hello Goodbye, Frontline: Rumble in the Jungle, The OTHER Public Safety Band, Public Service Moves to 800Mhz, FCC Hangs Up Free M2Z Service, 2.1GHz for MuniFi?, and M2Z: Free Internet Now!, Pipeline Wireless: We’re 3.65 GHz, FCC: Go For 3.65GHz, Airspan, Free 3.65GHz Mapping Service, Who the MuniFi MAN?, WiMAX: No Satellite Interference says WARC, Intel’s Rural Connectivity Platform, Airspan Gets FCC Nod for 3.65 GHz, Pipeline Wireless: We’re 3.65 GHz, FCC: Go For 3.65GHz, Airspan, Free 3.65GHz Mapping Service, Who the MuniFi MAN?, WiMAX: No Satellite Interference says WARC, Intel’s Rural Connectivity Platform, Airspan Gets FCC Nod for 3.65 GHz, 3.65 GHz Gets Real, FCC: Non-exclusive 3.6GHz Licensing and 3.65 GHz Gets Real.

Broadband Wireless Saves Money: CTIA

Being able to access the Internet on-the-go is expected to generate $860 billion in additional gross domestic product in the next decade due to productivity gains, according to the report entitled “The Increasing Important Impact of Wireless Broadband Technology and Services on the U.S. Economy” (PDF), from the CTIA (Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association).

According to the report, in 2005, 68.8 million US enterprise users had mobile wireless services, with 25% using a mobile wireless broadband solution. By 2016, the US is projected to have 81.9 million mobile enterprise users, with 83% using wireless broadband.

The health care sector and small businesses are the big winners of wireless broadband deployments, says the CTIA. In 2005, productivity improvements due to use of mobile broadband solutions across the U.S. health care industry were valued at almost $6.9 billion. By 2016, that number will triple to $27.2 billion.

The report also examined the annual productivity gains and cost saving for the five largest U.S. states—California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Illinois by using broadband wireless. The combined yearly cost savings for these five states alone, says the CTIA, is expected to increase from $10.1 billion in 2005 to more than $47 billion in 2016.

Cell towers now use about four T-1 lines (at 1.5 Mbps/each) for voice and data backhaul (at $200-$400/month each). A DS-3 delivers 44.736 Mbit/s (at $1500 to $3000 /month).

But WiMAX and LTE will require some 45 Mbps on each sector – perhaps 100 Mbps per tower says DragonWave (right). Three DS-3s could run $5K-$10K/month per tower and drive up the cost of broadband wireless.

Presumably, the CTIA would not be adverse to The Government subsiding their cellular-based LTE deployment, especially fiber to the tower, since data-centric Clearwire & Sprint are getting first dibs on high capacity wireless backhaul — a much cheaper alternative.

Ethernet backhaul is typically 30% – 50% lower in cost, says DragonWave. Ethernet benefits from the global high volume enterprise/LAN market, unlike cellular’s heritage SONET/TDM gear.

It will take a long time to deploy LTE networks nationwide, so Mobile WiMax has a 2-3 year advantage. LTE users must also be able to fall back to HSPA, raising the cost of both FDD CPEs and basestations. Inexpensive LTE femtocells — like the LTE spec itself — is wishful thinking.

A WiMAX/WiFi card is essentially “free”. It works indoors.

Let’s be frank. Most of CTIA’s cellular advocates would rather kill WiMAX then help it.

Ekahau: Tracking “N”

Ekahau today announced that its Ekahau RTLS location tracking solution and Ekahau Site Survey (ESS) Wi-Fi network planning and optimization tools will work seamlessly with the upcoming 802.11n standard.

ABI Research forecasts that 47 percent of all 2008 Wi-Fi chipset shipments will be 802.11n draft 2.0. “802.11n is the next big wave in the enterprise networking market, so it is very important that our solutions will continue working over this new standard,” said Pauli Misikangas, Ekahau’s CTO.

ESS software features graphical visualization of the network’s coverage, enabling enterprises to “see the network” and maximize its performance. The new features ESS will provide to 802.11n users include:

  • Signal prediction for off-site network planning
  • Verify network coverage and operation
  • Single-view network health analysis
  • One-click troubleshooting assistance
  • Visualization of network characteristics, such as coverage,
    interference and data rate
  • Generating reports
  • Using site survey data to enable an easy Ekahau RTLS deployment.

Ekahau says their Site Survey software is the only survey tool on the market that enables RTLS deployment after the standard Wi-Fi site survey, by creating an RTLS positioning model from the survey data. Any Wi-Fi network analyzed with ESS is ready for tracking assets and people with Wi-Fi tags and RTLS software.

Ekahau also offers Wi-Fi tags and badges for asset tracking.

Similar to other tracking solutions, accuracy of the Ekahau RTLS system depends largely on the network. For best results, tracked devices (tags and soft clients) should be able to receive signals from at least three access points. In a typical indoor multi-floor Wi-Fi environment, 3 to 9 feet (1 to 3 meter) accuracy is expected.

Ekahau RTLS 4.X, with its support of 802.11n, is available now. ESS 4.5., which will include the 802.11n support, will ship during the third quarter of 2008.