Wi-Fis Still Free—In Some Places

Can an Atlanta company reinvigorate the diminishing free-hot spot trend? It's already trying.

Should ubiquitous wireless access be free? An Atlanta company, 3rd Wave, believes it should be as commonplace in many kinds of businesses as water and bathrooms. The company is already putting its money where its mouth is by installing free hotspots in Atlanta.

The company provides free, wireless 802.11b Internet access points to retail businesses such as restaurants and coffee shops and charges nothing for installation, but specifically requests that the establishments not charge for wireless access. So far, 3rd Wave has put 10 hotspots in Atlanta, and it plans to install 11 more in the coming weeks. The goal is to have about 50 in the city by June.

"We were disappointed that Atlanta ranked dead last in a survey of wireless cities across the United States, and we are determined to change that," says Mike Landman, 3rd Waves founder and owner. "We also get a lot of good will out of enabling hotspots, and have even gotten some clients this way for our main business of providing outsourced IT services."

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