The Austin Chronicle takes a look at the Austin Wireless City Project's initiatives around the SXSW music festival, which happens next weekend: The project is offering free iTunes music to users of the free hotspots set up by the project. In addition, the IC2 Institute, a research unit of the University of Texas, is making a presentation during an Interactive Conference going on in conjunction with the festival. The institute will talk about how everyday people can benefit from connectivity. Howard Rheingold, who wrote Smart Mobs: The Next Social Revolution, will also speak at the conference.
Other coverage of the Austin Wireless City Project's efforts include a story written by its co-founder, Rich MacKinnon. He offers a really great description of all the parties that benefit when a venue offers free hotspots. He gives the example of a free hotspot at an Austin restaurant and describes how a consultancy made money to install the router, a printing company was paid to make new coasters touting the free Wi-Fi, MacKinnon's company Less Networks pays a hosting facility to support the hotspot and a PR firm is paid to promote the free hotspots. He notes that even the big companies make money here, including Kinko's which printed a new sign, CompUSA which sold the access point, which was made by Buffalo, and SBC which provides the DSL connection. The list actually goes on, offering a strong argument for the business case behind free hotspots. [both links via Less Networks]