Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Cheap/Free Wireless Access?

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun Work,Geek Work,The Network Geek at Home — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Hare which is in the early morning or 7:04 am for you boring, normal people.
The moon is Waxing Gibbous

Well, now, this sounds interesting…

The other day there was an article on Slashdot about a college student trying to set up cheap wireless access at a local coffee shop. This caught my eye for three reasons.
First, it was a nice little display of ambition to see a college kid setting this up for a local business. (I’m assuming the little capitalist was going to get paid.)
Second, I thought it was pretty good marketing for a little, local “mom and pop” coffee shop to be offering wireless Internet access.
Third, the suggestions and reactions of the Slashdot crowd were both helpful and typical of the “get something for nothing” crowd I expect to find only on Slashdot. I mean, these people were all offering real world experience on how to set it up. And, some folks even provided suggested hardware and places to buy it. But, most of the folks were suggesting that it should be free. Why? Well, because only hardcore geeks would want it anyway. Hunh? Try again!

First off, wireless access at coffee shops has been a big news story for months in the regular print media. Second, why should it be free just because the target market is small? In some cases, that should mean that the prices are actually higher. Elitism has its price, children.
So, while I think it’s great that the article generated a lot of information, I don’t think the “you pay, but I should get it free” model will work well. Especially for a small business who usually run tight on expenses already.
Still, it would be a neat idea if he can get it implemented.

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