Free WiFi: It’s a Right!

Posted by Sam Churchill on

JiWire, the location-based advertising company that uses WiFi networks to locate deliver ads, mostly in airports, has signed a deal with Advanced Wireless Group to provide free WiFi services in major airport hubs like San Francisco, Los Angeles International, Minneapolis and Baltimore- Washington. It’s an extension of a previous deal between the two had for advertising services, JiWire says.

Advanced Wireless Group couples public Wi-Fi in airports with advertising, sponsorship, and media content. The captive audience of airports, is an advertising opportunity for JiWire.

Free WiFi has become nearly standard in U.S. hotspots, and JiWire estimates that less than 1% of consumers connect to the Internet when WiFi is charged, whereas free networks average more than 10 times the number of users. The network becomes an avenue to deliver advertising.

Whether the same strategy could be successful in the cellular band is an open question. Google, Amazon, Facebook and others may be motivated to try it. Anyone can read the numbers. Free wireless would be like broadcast television…with higher CPMs.

New York City’s Chelsea WiFi Network was designed and installed by Sky-Packets for Google. Sky-Packets also handled the Bryant Park WiFi upgrade last year using Meraki gear.

Google worked with Boingo last year to provide free Wi-Fi at more than 4,000 hotspots across America as part of a collaboration with Google Play. The Google sponsored Boingo Wi-Fi locations include 15 airports, such as New York’s John F. Kennedy, Chicago O’Hare and Seattle-Tacoma, Boingo-enabled Manhattan subway stations, and thousands of hotels, shopping malls, cafés and recreational areas. Boingo Wireless and Microsoft also sponsored free Wi-Fi access at high-traffic New York and San Francisco over the holidays.

Using the new unlicensed 3.5 GHz band or the 200 MHz soon to be freed in the 5 GHz band (pdf), coupled with Tarana Wireless for backhaul, small cell networks could soon be constructed when and where you need them. Along rivers, highways and bike paths or whenever there’s an emergency. Smartphones barely existed 5 years ago.

NPD Connected Intelligence found smartphones used less than 2 GB a month. Ad revenue might generate double the $2-5/month it costs to deliver the service. Multiply by 10 million subscribers/month. Maybe that’s a business. A billion dollar business.

Some Republicans want to crush entrepreneurs who plan to capitalize on unlicensed spectrum. The NAB maintains they alone are entitled to free spectrum. They pay big bucks to Congressional representatives to keep it that way.

Free Wi-fi, sponsored by location-based ads, is not a pipe dream. It’s a right.

Related Dailywireless articles include; Free Google WiFi for NYC Chelsea Neighborhood, T-Mobile: iPhone, LTE, Contract-free, Unlimited data, Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks, Seattle’s Gigabit Fiber CityNet, Chicago Announces Free WiFi in Parks, Google Fiber Launches in Kansas City, Small Cells for Cisco, Sprint to use Light Radio for Small Cells, Street light Provides Wi-Fi, Cell Coverage, Hotspot 2.0, Intel: Basestation in the Cloud, Clearwire: On the Hot Zone, Sprint to use LightRadio for Small Cells, LTE iPhone: Game Changer?, London: The Biggest Small Network in the World, FCC: More Backhaul at 6, 11 and 23 GHz

Posted by Sam Churchill on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 10:15 am .

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