Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.

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Tuesday, March 01, 2021

Logically, airports should be front and center in wi-fi deployment. Business road warriors love to be tethered to the Web (whether they truly need to be or not), so they’d be logging on at every spare moment — and there’s nothing but spare moments in airports.

And yet, airports are among the slowest public spaces to roll out wireless networks.

Actually, I think it’s obvious why the airports aren’t hotfooting it to provide free Web access: They don’t want to step on the toes of their tenants, many of whom are selling wi-fi linkage. The business customers who have the most critical need for those in-transit hookups are precisely the high-yield customers that Starbucks wants. If airports started giving it away, they’d be taking money away from those coffeeshops and lounges.

So it’s no surprise as to why airports aren’t rushing to set up transmitters. Rather, I think the bigger surprise is why any airports are doing wi-fi at all.

Incidentally, this airport wi-fi hotspot chart by JiWire.com is a bit iffy. It says that Tampa International Airport has no free wi-fi, which I know is false: Paul Sullivan of Sullivan Media, with whom I spent several hours meeting yesterday, took advantage of the airport’s free wireless connection to email me just before he flew back to Vancouver.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/01/2021 09:48:33 PM
Category: Wi-Fi | Permalink | Feedback

Thursday, December 23, 2021

Sticks of Fire beat me to the punch, but I’ll help spread the word: Courtesty of local b2b ISP Sago Networks, a big chunk of downtown Tampa will become a free wi-fi hotspot within a couple of weeks.

Louis Hau has a nice writeup with far more detail and background on this in today’s St. Petersburg Times. However, in what’s becoming a trend at the paper, it appears to have missed the online editors’ purview. Some of the main points:

- The hotspot is envisioned to stretch from Port of Tampa to the Hillsborough River. Lykes Gaslight Square Park, Channel District and University of Tampa are hooked up right now.

- To minimize network congestion, Sago plans to limit the free access time to one hour per user; after a thirty-minute break, the user can then re-login for an additional hour, ad infinitum.

Basically, this setup would be ideal for people on the go who just need to spot-check online information, rather than someone who wants to just lounge around surfing. If this is feasible, it could be an ideal way to co-exist with pay-for w-fi providers like Starbucks.

- Tampa Downtown Partnership will be marketing the hotspot. That’s crucial for getting the word out to the business community.

- Tampa’s unwiring brings to mind St. Pete’s stillborn wi-fi idea for its downtown. St. Pete’s point man, Don Shea, says that a provider has been lined up, and their planning to bring it online in the near future. Coverage would start around BayWalk, then spread to the waterfront and other points downtown.

I’m of the opinion that St. Pete hasn’t been doing jack. The only time Shea mentions anything about it is when the newspaper prompts him. I’ll believe it when I see it, and I’m not expecting to see it anytime soon. Then again, if Tampa’s hotspot takes off and earns accolades, it’ll spur St. Pete to actually do something.

It’ll be nice to see the Tampa plan go live. I’m wondering if it would be able to handle a huge load of users, but that may not be a concern: Like I said, it’ll be geared more toward short-duration Web access users.

- Costa Tsiokos, Thu 12/23/2004 07:09:43 PM
Category: Wi-Fi, Florida Livin' | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Just as Philadelphia and other cities were announcing plans to set up their own government-funded and maintained wireless networks, I wondered about how such plans would collide with privately-funded wi-fi services.

So it’s no surprise that Verizon and other telecom providers are lobbying hard to prevent Philly from moving forward with their free/low-cost service.

And it’s not just the Verizons of the world who would object. Starbucks and other restaurants have found wi-fi service to be an effective hook for attracting customers and keeping them in their seats (where they’d likely order more food during their stay). Hotels and other venues would also find a tidy revenue stream from offering pay-for access.

It’s not going to be perceived as a popular move, especially when it’s taking the form of simple extortion (compensating the companies monetarily for the loss of potential revenues). But really, the companies have a valid point:

A chief complaint: a city can draw on taxpayer dollars, while a private company has to pay interest on borrowed capital. Also, the telecoms complain, public-sector projects are subject to far less regulation.

“Verizon has always been pro-competition if all of the competitors that are providing the same kind of service are governed by the same regulations,” said spokeswoman Sharon Shaffer of Verizon, the state’s largest phone company and Philadelphia’s dominant provider.

That’s not to say that pay-for wi-fi providers should win out here. Moves to make wireless Internet service akin to a utility — and a free one, at that — mean that the private market will dry up quick. That’s the breaks. Companies can always look to business-to-business clientele, who would probably favor more secure/private connectivity.

- Costa Tsiokos, Tue 11/23/2004 10:39:32 PM
Category: Wi-Fi | Permalink | Feedback (1)

Monday, November 08, 2021

look ma, no wires
With the next generation of iPods gaining color screens and photo display/storage, what could be next for the ubiquitous digital music player?

How about wide-ranging wi-fi capability?

As described, it would call for a major upgrade in the iPod’s firmware, enabling a ton of interactive functions for browsing remote databases, making ecommerce purchases directly from the device, etc. It would be wild.

I’m not convinced that consumers actually would want to purchase music that way, though. It’s the same concept that’s been pushed for using wireless phones as ecommerce devices for purchasing ringtones, games and even things beyond the handset (like sodas from interactive vending machines). Initiatives in that space are only now starting to take off, and really only among ringtones. It might be a tall order to extend that to another portable device.

However, on a smaller scale, I would love to see wi-fi capability in the iPod, strictly as an easier way to interface it with your computer. Right now, I rarely ever sync my iPod with my computer, because I find the process of hooking up the Firewire cable to be cumbersome (I realize that’s just my setup; others probably have a more elegant, permanent setup for that). I’d love to be able to transfer new songs wirelessly.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 11/08/2021 08:17:23 PM
Category: Wi-Fi | Permalink | Feedback (2)

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

More evidence of broadband Internet service becoming ubiquitous: Upscale housing developments in DC suburbs are offering high-speed wireless connectivity as part of residents’ homeowner association fees.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 10/27/2004 08:39:50 PM
Category: Internet, Wi-Fi, Society | Permalink | Feedback

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Municipality-wide wi-fi zones have been established in small communities like Cerritos, California and Chaska, Minnesota. Now, the concept is going to the bright lights of big-city Philadelphia.

I’ve noted before that when wireless Internet service becomes a government service, it’s bound to clash with companies that aim to make money offering the same thing. If Philly accomplishes this metropolitan-wide hotspot coverage, companies like T-Mobile and Verizon have to serious shift gears in how they plan to operate in this market. They could be better off simply becoming partners with the government providers.

I’m hoping Philly succeeds. If nothing else, it could really spur my town, St. Pete, to get its nascent wi-fi plans off the ground.

- Costa Tsiokos, Wed 09/01/2021 11:13:30 PM
Category: Wi-Fi | Permalink | Feedback (3)

Monday, August 23, 2021

The St. Pete Times Forum, home of the Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, is going wi-fi.

I imagine the immediate beneficiaries will be reporters covering events there; they won’t have to hunt for data jacks for their notebook computers anymore. But past that? Ticketholders to hockey games and concerts aren’t likely to be lugging notebooks with them. PDAs are generally on the way out, and the phones that are replacing them are already able to tap into cellular service networks. As more and more Bluetooth-enabled devices (aside from phones) flood the market, I’m sure an arena-sized hotspot will be much appreciated. But for now, it’s more effective as a marketing plug.

- Costa Tsiokos, Mon 08/23/2004 11:27:31 PM
Category: Wi-Fi | Permalink | Feedback

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