Doc Searls on Why Hotels and Airports Should Have Free Wi-Fi

Doc Searls (who wrote a great article in Linux Journal about NYCwireless in 2004) has a great blog post on the frustrating world of for-pay Wi-Fi in hotels and airports. NYCwireless has long said that public and semi-public spaces like hotels and airports (and parks!) have a lot more to gain if they make their Wi-Fi networks free and treat them as PR and marketing pages.

The problem here is that the Net is seen by too many hotels and airports as a way to make money rather than to keep customers happy. That’s because it’s seen as a private business rather than a public utility. It would be better for everybody if we admitted that it’s the latter, even when private businesses provide access to it.

Yes, it has costs. So do electricity, water, waste collection and road maintenance, and neither airports nor hotels charge for those — at least not Thing is, the Net is not a steady scarcity, such as parking. Nor is it simple. But making it gratis removes the billing complexities that are one of its main costs and a frequent cause of failure.

So here’s a message to the aviation and hospitality industries: You’re not in the pay toilet business. Quit trying to turn the Internet into one.

Gramstand in the Ideablob Competition Finals

Gramstand, one of our favorite NYCwireless hotspots, is in the final running for the Ideablob Competition. Go vote for this great coffeeshop and friend of NYCwireless!

Gramstand Friends and Family,

Thanks to your lovely support, we are now in the finals of the Ideablob Competition… so WE NEED YOUR VOTE, ONE LAST TIME. If we win the $10,000 prize we’re putting the money toward cafe renovations like:

  • opening the front windows for the summer
  • getting better air conditioning
  • testing new menu options
  • a liquor license (citrus berry champagne??? yum!)
  • a fax machine
  • and basement adjustments
  • …things that will make the space fun for working or gathering!

To vote for us, you need to go to the link below and set-up an account. It only takes a minute or two:

Thanks for supporting the Gramstand — it really means a lot to me and the staff. Feel free to pass this email along to other supporters!


Richard & the gStand