If you’re a coffee shop owner and you haven’t decided to offer wireless internet in your shop here’s a few interesting quotes from an article that discusses the pros and cons of providing free wireless internet. Essentially the research says that providing free wireless is cheaper for you to run and manage (by a significant margin) and also requires less support. What do you know. Plus if you are in AZ and you provide free wireless internet at your coffee shop let us know and we’ll post a note here on Arizona Coffee to spread the word!

Now I’ll quote from the article in length:

Here’s the irony in Wi-Fi public access pricing: retailers can be profitable by offering free Wi-Fi as a customer acquisition tool. But when they charge for Wi-Fi access, these retailers, and the WISPs serving them, almost certainly lose money. According to a market study coming out this summer, retailers are quickly learning this lesson: up to 30% of US location owners who plan to deploy commercial hotspots in 2004 intend those hotspots to be free or free-with-purchase.

The fully loaded cost of offering free Wi-Fi access is less than $6/day. Operating a billable hotspot costs over $30/day. Half this cost comes from building or altering billing systems, plus the endless associated customer care. The millions of dollars already spent on systems to charge Wi-Fi users by the megabyte, minute, etc., will never be recuperated. Next year, authentication should become cheap enough to be part of a profitable Wi-Fi offering, but for the foreseeable future, authorization and accounting remain dangerous distractions.

Arizona Coffee

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