Monday, June 13, 2005

Free WiFi - Why are stores so stingy?

Every time I go to Borders, Barns and Noble, or Starbucks, I wish they'd open up their network for free WiFi access. I can go to Atlanta Bread Company (or several other places in Atlanta) and get free access to the Internet. Why don't these bigger stores be a little more . . . generous? My general feeling whenever I open my notebook in these places is how stingy they are, constraining their networks to paid access only. How cheap is that?

And here's the crazy thing. I already pay $30 a month for T-Mobile access for my Blackberry. Why would I pay yet another fee for Internet access for my notebook? For that mater, why does T-Mobile charge more money for WiFi if they've already given me access?

Yeah, yeah, I know, they want to make MORE money. But really, I know of few people that subscribe to a PDA wireless service AND a T-Mobile Hot Spot for their notebook. Really, how much does it cost the stores anyway?

If folks could visit these places and work without additional charges for WiFi, I'd bet they'd stay longer AND buy more from the store, which would put more bucks into the coffers of the investors of the stores rather than that of T-Mobile. Why don't the stores understand this? I'll never know.

I really applaud those cities who are thinking 21st century and putting in free wireless access throughout their towns. That'll make T-Mobile obsolete, at least for these towns.

Perhaps, access to the internet with ANY device will be a commodity one day and per-month cost will be a thing of the past.

"The wireless telegraph is not difficult to understand. The ordinary telegraph is like a very long cat. You pull the tail in New York, and it meows in Los Angeles. The wireless is the same, only without the cat." -Albert Einstein