We discuss how the hotspot market has evolved over six years: Rick, the founder of Surf and Sip, was one of the first people I interviewed back in late 2000 for my early article in The New York Times on public hotspots that ran in Feb. 2001. (Rick said he still has the article on his wall.) This was the first article in the mainstream media looking at hotspots, and it's what pushed me on the road to writing this blog. Rick had over 100 locations at the time; his network has now grown to nearly 600 in Europe and the US.
Surf and Sip started by actually soliciting business, pounding the pavement, paying for equipment and DSL lines, and offering high-touch service. The company has shrunk in size to just a handful of people while running a multi-national operation as the complexity as reduced, and their in-house software has been developed.
We talk about whether hotspot growth has stalled, where revenue comes from, and the future of VoIP at hotspots and municipal networks. Rick has some interesting insight into Wi-Fi handsets and music devices like the Music Gremlin which require specific network resources or lots of bandwidth. [42 min., 20 MB, MP3]