EarthLink founder Sky Dayton is focusing on a new venture to provide high-speed wireless Internet access to travelers, using public spaces equipped with wireless networks using the popular Wi-Fi standard. Boingo Wireless, as the startup is called, doesn’t actually operate the wireless networks, but rather serves as a single point of contact for hundreds of Wi-Fi “hot spots” across the country, providing software that finds the network, handles user authentication, and provides security and billing. Boingo offers pricing plans that range from $7.95 to $74.95 a month, depending on the amount of time the service is used. “We are at the new frontier of the Internet,” says Dayton. “This is frontier number two.” Analysts say the key to Boingo’s success will be whether it can build a critical mass of wireless ISP partners. If it can attract the big names, it could become an attractive buyout target for a major wireless carrier. (AP 4 Feb 2002)
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