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BT Ireland opened ten public hotspots in Drogheda, a town just north of Dublin: This article notes that BT Ireland (which officially changed its name from Esat BT in April) plans to make this Ireland’s first Wi-Fi town, but in March, Cork launched a network. The Drogheda launch sounds a lot like many small towns in the U.S. that have introduced Wi-Fi in their city centers. In the U.S., city governments vaguely say that they hope the Wi-Fi will attract businesses to town. I can’t really see how a free Wi-Fi network can help. Few businesses would rely on that connection for all of their Internet and email needs, if only because it would be insecure. The US Ambassador to Ireland, who helped launch the network in Drogheda, also thinks the network will help entrepreneurs who work from home. However, I’m doubtful that any “entrepreneur” would rely on a free Wi-Fi network for the same reason a business wouldn’t. I’m not trying to criticize free Wi-Fi networks because I personally would love to see a free network covering Dublin, but I think that cities are misguided when they suppose that building such networks will attract new businesses to town. If a city has some specific offering over the network that is attractive to businesses, the network could be a draw. But the network itself won’t automatically draw businesses to town.
Posted by nancyg at May 18, 2005 1:34 PM
Categories: municipal networks
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The use of Jiwire's SpotLock service or a good VPN client would ease the insecure network fears. No?
As a work at home "entrepreneur" myself, if a free network were available in my town I'd rather pay $50 a year for SpotLock than $50 a month to my cable company here in the US.
Posted by: Jim Sullivan at May 18, 2005 6:47 PM