If you’ve sat frustrated with your laptop in a public place unable to get online without signing up for yet another Wi-Fi service, then today is the today that the worm turns – large wedge of cynicism aside.
A company called Freerunner is pledging to host 2,500 free public Wi-Fi hotspots by the end of Q2 next year. Yes, free, as in, no need to pay. The company will provide the internet zones at no cost to community areas such as libraries, schools and colleges while charging commercial premises a third of what they already may pay. The idea for the latter group is that all you’ll be paying is the price of cup of coffee or whatever it is they sell. CEO of Freerunner, Owen Geddes said:
“Back in 2002, free, open access points were popping up all over the place and there was a real buzz about the potential of public WiFi. Since then, networks have been locked down and access for a day can cost more than your home broadband costs in a month. Our vision is to give consumers free public WiFi access whether they are in the the centre of London, the community centre at the end of their road or the local café in Hartlepool.”
Of course, 2,500 hotspots isn’t enough to start a revolution but it’s a certainly a good start, and a start that will be in the North East of the UK with NorthStar Equity Investors (NSEI) as key investors in the project. Is that a horde of cheering Geordies I hear? That’d make a change this season.