November 1, 2004

Software may want to be free, but what about wireless?

Author: Jay Lyman

Nigel Ballard, Matrix Networks director of wireless by day and free wireless advocate with Personal Telco by night, thinks accessing the Internet or corporate network wirelessly should be free -- both as in free software and as in free beer -- or perhaps more appropriately, as in free with a cup of coffee.

Ballard was on the free side of the "To Pay or Not To Pay" WiFi discussion at the recent NW Wireless & Security Summit held in Portland, Ore. While his company has helped customers such as hotels deploy fee wireless services, the pay services typically prove unprofitable for those deploying them, according to Ballard. Instead, he said, wireless access is increasingly becoming a necessary add-on for hotels, coffee shops, and even municipalities.

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