SAN FRANCISCO, June 6 – Linda Branagan would seem to be the ideal customer for entrepreneurs and telecommunications companies looking to make money selling wireless Internet connections. But, like thousands of business road warriors, Ms. Branagan often does not pay for the service because she gets it free.
At cafes, malls and downtown business districts, there has been an explosion of Internet access points, or Wi-Fi hot spots, that let computer users log on to the Internet for free. That growth is a fundamental reason – though not the only one – that technology start-ups, investors and industry analysts who had high hopes for Wi-Fi are scrambling to find sustainable business models. (full story)