“WI-FI service is quickly becoming the air-conditioning of the Internet age, enticing customers into restaurants and other public spaces in the same way that cold ‘advertising air’ deliberately blasted out the open doors of air-conditioned theaters in the early 20th century to help sell tickets.” This from Randall Stross in today’s New York Times.
Stross is right. As bloggers, we’re on the look out for that third place, away from the first two, home and work, to do some quality blogging. And paying “$6 an hour for the ‘pay as you go’ plan at Starbucks is a only a last resort.
As Stross points out charging for service is the prerogative of any business owner. But we’re not crawling under coin-operated locks on bathroom stalls anymore.
And don’t buy the “lap top users sitting on WiFi don’t generate revenue and just fill needed space.” Panera Bread, offering free WiFi has no interest in rushing WiFi users out — ‘the longer they stay, the greater the likelihood that resistance to the aroma of freshly baked muffins will crumble. As Stross reports “Free, unmetered Wi-Fi is one way the restaurant sends an unambiguous signal: Stay as long as you like.”
Btw, Pegasus Coffee, here on our Island just got their free WiFi working. Only place on Bainbridge Island offering it. Don’t tell anyone.