Do you have adblock enabled?
If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(AZCentral)   WiFi companies going bankrupt faster than you can say "bubble"   ( divider line
    More: Obvious  
•       •       •

14452 clicks; posted to Main » on 23 Jun 2004 at 6:02 PM (13 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

35 Comments     (+0 »)
2004-06-23 04:48:43 PM  
One place where it IS profitable (and expensive) is airports. Its nice how you can automatically connect when you put in your card, and you get the intranet for AT&T/etc where you can order time.
2004-06-23 04:58:09 PM  
David Hagan, president of Boingo Wireless Inc.... said the 3-year-old company's main cost is its 70 employees. He expects Boingo to become profitable by 2006

Damn. People (companies) never friggin learn.

I was part of the whole dot-com bust. The main reason we went under is we hired on 60 people before the business model could be proven.

At that point, its next to impossible to make the major adjustments to the business model that are *always* necessary with a new company in a new industry.

Have some entrepreneurial balls, hire on maybe 4-5 people, and make the thing happen on a smaller scale.

Then use some salesmanship to land a few million dollar deals.

THEN hire 30, 40, 50+ people.

2004-06-23 05:20:14 PM  
downstairs: THEN hire 30, 40, 50+ people.

But the allure of IPO money, is hard to resist.

These people somewhat new to the business world think of a few million dollars on a personal time scale (IE how long would it take them to spend a few million themselves) vs a business time scale (how long for a business to go through a million).
2004-06-23 05:22:02 PM  
Or rather,

70 employees * $40,000/year (pulled out of my ass) => 2.8 million

And that's not taking into account any benefits, and the cost of buildings and the like.

However, I could probably live the rest of my life quite nicely on 2.8 million.
2004-06-23 06:06:32 PM  
2004-06-23 06:08:05 PM  
With benefits etc, the rule of thumb for the cost of an individual employee is $100k. That increases in higher paying areas (like Silly Con Valley)

/yes, went the B-school, knows what I'm talking about. No won't provide a link since I have a degree delegation. Now get me my coffee. ** cracks whip **
2004-06-23 06:08:13 PM  

Awww...let them last a little longer....
2004-06-23 06:10:49 PM  
Good, the WiFi technology isn't good enough anyway yet.
2004-06-23 06:13:47 PM  
I got bad news for those trying to make a buck off of wifi... it's not going to happen. The free wifi movements have much broader scope and can adapt quicker and cheaper to new technology. I hate to use this word, but it's a new paradigm in connectivity. Pretty soon there will be enough wireless overlap feeding redundant connections around the world that wires will be as useless as dental floss in the ground. I mean, who flosses anyway?
2004-06-23 06:14:19 PM  
Their business plan was pretty simple:

1. Install WiFi
2. ???
3. Profit

They must have screwed up step 2 somehow... I blame it on marketing.
2004-06-23 06:18:56 PM  
I don't see this as bubble anyway, more of a bubblet.
2004-06-23 06:19:53 PM  
There's plenty of money in WiFi.

Just not in the hotspot market.
2004-06-23 06:22:47 PM  
I always felt Wi-Fi would always be an add-on, an incentive, to almost any other technology offer.

You know, like most cable companies will give you "wireless" broadband service. All that means is they'll bring over the wireless router/card and hook it up for you if you don't know how. Or coffee houses offer hotspots to draw clientel. And so on and so forth.

That's why the whole airport thing pisses me off so much. I am SICK to death of picking up multiple wireless networks in almost every airport I've been in, only to find they're encrypted. The only time I was able to connect was in George Bush Intercontinental Airport. I picked up a network apparently coming from the VIP lounge or whatever, based on the name, that for some reason was wide open. I was in a far terminal, and my connection was poor, but I was on.

That's why I use my T-Mobile connectivity kit. Unlimited internet access through the phone, which just plugs into my laptop's USB port. The PC just recognizes the phone as a modem, basically. It may be just 56k+, but I have net access anywhere, even outside of hotspots.
2004-06-23 06:25:31 PM  
[image from too old to be available]2004-06-23 06:10:49 PM Somebody_Someone
Good, the WiFi technology isn't good enough anyway yet.

Define not good enough? I use WiFi all the time, and it works PERFECTLY for me. Have used it in train stations, airports, coffee shops, hotels, and at home.
2004-06-23 06:28:45 PM  
They just can't compete with the free hotspots available...EVERYWHERE.
2004-06-23 06:32:08 PM  
i was trying to find a connection in a coffeshop downtown and all the other connections kept getting booted off by the coffee shop's in-house FatPort connection which wanted my credit card to get access.

i'd go to an unencrypted network for about 30 secs and then *bang* i'd get kicked off and back to FatPort's "give us money" homepage.

Fark that. Fark that big time.
2004-06-23 06:41:47 PM  
Here in Portland OR we have a grass roots wifi thing going's free and available just about's called PersonalTelco. Pretty cool stuff...not a business just a bunch-o-people throwing up attenna's all over the place with cheap DSL behind it. Check it out>>

node list:

/too lazy to link
2004-06-23 06:46:28 PM  
My Earthlink connection went out. So I went to my Airport menu in my Apt. Three other connections are available. All unsecured. I had zero downtime until EL came back up.

That being said, WiFi is going to be like TV reception. If you have an antenna, you have it.
2004-06-23 06:50:59 PM  
BTW we're the city with the most node in the "Community Wireless Node Database Project" with 190 nodes around the city.
2004-06-23 06:58:13 PM  
Why pay for WiFi access?

I live in downtown Long Beach, Ca, and have a 3 mile commute to work. I got a new WiFi adapter for my laptop yesterday, and just for shiats and giggles, ran NetStumbler on the way to work this morning.

In those 3 miles, I passed 240 hot spots, 180 of which were wide open.

Why pay for something that someone is giving out for free?
2004-06-23 07:02:50 PM  
I never realized that WiFi really took off. Therefore, how could there be a bubble to burst? The technology has not spread very far at all, atleast beyond huge ass cities like NYC, Chicago, Seattle, etc. OF course it's failing, it can't survive just on surving big areas like that. You have to serve a broader audience and it seems to me that companies just aren't willing to do so. So naturally it's going to dry up.
2004-06-23 07:05:41 PM  

Good, the WiFi technology isn't good enough anyway yet.

What are you talking about?
2004-06-23 07:06:44 PM  
Wi-Fi, short for wireless fidelity...

More like, "Wi-Fi, short for Apple was there first and called it Airport, but since we have PCs, we're renaming it so it won't seem like we're copying Apple (again), and Windows users will think we're innovative."

Wi-Fi gear is shrinking in both size and price, to the point at which Wi-Fi connections eventually could be built into power strips.

Uh, Airport Express? Sends music to your stereo from iTunes, as well as wireless internet, networking and printing to USB printer. Even works with XP. Guess AZCentral hasn't heard yet.
2004-06-23 07:17:30 PM  
As someone who owns and runs a WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider) I find the article misleading. As with any new technology there is a period when people learn how the game is played.

Free Hotspot? Sure, but someone somewhere has to pay for bandwidth - sorry, that's the reality.

Will wireless work as a real contender in the connectivity game? Chairman Powell seems to think so. In the last three months we have been given/promised a lot of spectrum. Spectrum is usually auctioned off to the highest bidder and goes for billions.

At the same time, WISPs are now moving towards providing not only high speed internet but telephone (Vonage or Packet8) and Video on Demand as offered recently by Real Player.

Will we as an industry survive? I mean after all, we have the Telcos competing against us with predatory pricing. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out they are selling DSL at below their cost. As we all know the Telcos are really nice people and they will continue to sell this service at way below their cost after they wipe out the competition.

We also have the Cable companies who are all losing money by selling connectivity at well below their cost. Adelphia is bankrupt and will be sold in the near future. Most of the rest of the cable companies are also in tough shape.

The reality is that WiFi was never meant to be an outdoor delivery system. Anyone who is using WiFi to deliver internet is really asking for it. Now WiMAX on the other hand...
2004-06-23 07:41:28 PM  
McDs is so dumb they needed someone else to set up hotspots for them? And their customer base isn't exactly tech savvy.
2004-06-23 07:51:11 PM  
Correct me if im wrong, but WiFi operates on unlicensed bandwidth. That means that any goober with a transmitter can waltz down the street effectively generating white noise and obliterating any cohesive signal withing its range.

If anybody can transmit at that frequency, then WiFi will never work as a business model.
2004-06-23 08:05:18 PM  
I think that WiFi is better than BPL (Broadband over Power Line) for providing internet access. BPL has a number of problems, including polluting much of the radio spectrum under 70mhz. Like anything, WiFi will find its' place.

Anyone have BPL in their area?
2004-06-23 08:11:08 PM  

I thought BPL was only used for home networks and such. (or is that what you meant?)
I do tech support for an ISP that's soon going to be releasing an modem that does BPL, but only for the internal homenetwork, and only as a backup. WiFi will be the primary means.
2004-06-23 08:48:42 PM  
BPL is a reality. Check out Current Communications Group for someone entering this field.

As a point of fact, they use wireless as a backhaul and connect the "Last Foot" as we say using BPL.

BPL is beig tested by several companies as a long haul delivery system but as was mentioned before there are several bugs to be worked out including the pollution of the RF spectrum.


You bring up an excellent point. Forget the random white noise generator. How about all the cordless phones, X10 cameras and Bluetooth devices out there. On the other side of the coin, WiFi is pretty good a sorting out real signals from noise.

Look to the next generation of outdoor wireless connectivity equipment (WiMAX) to be much better at dealing with noise.
2004-06-23 09:04:09 PM  
What about WIFI farming. Yep, thats right. Now Americas farmers get fat.
2004-06-23 09:14:30 PM  

Why pay for something that someone is giving out for free?

Thus the current state of shacking up, bastard children, and abortion

/Why buy the cow if the milk is free
2004-06-23 09:16:45 PM  

Those in the amateur radio community have been up in arms about BPL for a while now, but used in an urban stting using, if I recall corrrectly, the 33kv (or so) power lines that are on your street. Lots of info on this at

Is the modem that your ISP will soon be releasing a Part 15 device, not cause interference and accept any interference? Sorry, not sure of the exact wording, but you should know what I mean.
2004-06-23 10:23:50 PM  

You can get around that in a lot of setups (including Apple's) by telling your computer to login to a specific network instead of just selecting the strongest signal.

everyone else

Yes, I realize that it's necessary to charge for access. However, I'd rather be able to just pay a bit of cash on top of what I'm already paying (maybe a bit more on my airline ticket, or a dollar with my coffee) to get some access. If it demands my credit card number, no way.

My local coffeeshop knows how to do it right. Geez, I need to go back there...
2004-06-24 01:20:56 AM  
Dot-bomb: Give people things away for free, make it up on volume

Wi-fi bomb: Charge people for something everyone else is giving away for free, just to be nice.
2004-06-24 11:19:57 AM  
guytoronto & thornhill
This is the kind of thing I'm talking about, dumbfarks:

Correct me if im wrong, but WiFi operates on unlicensed bandwidth. That means that any goober with a transmitter can waltz down the street effectively generating white noise and obliterating any cohesive signal withing its range.
If anybody can transmit at that frequency, then WiFi will never work as a business model.
Displayed 35 of 35 comments

This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking

On Twitter

Top Commented
Javascript is required to view headlines in widget.
  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.