Email Delivery

Receive new posts as email.

Email address

Syndicate this site

RSS | Atom


About This Site
Contact Us
Privacy Policy


November 2010
Sun Mon Tues Wed Thurs Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
28 29 30        

Stories by Category

Basics :: Basics
Casting :: Casting Listen In Podcasts Videocasts
Culture :: Culture Hacking
Deals :: Deals
Future :: Future
Hardware :: Hardware Adapters Appliances Chips Consumer Electronics Gaming Home Entertainment Music Photography Video Gadgets Mesh Monitoring and Testing PDAs Phones Smartphones
Industry :: Industry Conferences Financial Free Health Legal Research Vendor analysis
International :: International
Media :: Media Locally cached Streaming
Metro-Scale Networks :: Metro-Scale Networks Community Networking Municipal
Network Types :: Network Types Broadband Wireless Cellular 2.5G and 3G 4G Power Line Satellite
News :: News Mainstream Media
Politics :: Politics Regulation Sock Puppets
Schedules :: Schedules
Security :: Security 802.1X
Site Specific :: Site Specific Administrative Detail April Fool's Blogging Book review Cluelessness Guest Commentary History Humor Self-Promotion Unique Wee-Fi Who's Hot Today?
Software :: Software Open Source
Spectrum :: Spectrum 60 GHz
Standards :: Standards 802.11a 802.11ac 802.11ad 802.11e 802.11g 802.11n 802.20 Bluetooth MIMO UWB WiGig WiMAX ZigBee
Transportation and Lodging :: Transportation and Lodging Air Travel Aquatic Commuting Hotels Rails
Unclassified :: Unclassified
Vertical Markets :: Vertical Markets Academia Enterprise WLAN Switches Home Hot Spot Aggregators Hot Spot Advertising Road Warrior Roaming Libraries Location Medical Public Safety Residential Rural SOHO Small-Medium Sized Business Universities Utilities wISP
Voice :: Voice


November 2010 | October 2010 | September 2010 | August 2010 | July 2010 | June 2010 | May 2010 | April 2010 | March 2010 | February 2010 | January 2010 | December 2009 | November 2009 | October 2009 | September 2009 | August 2009 | July 2009 | June 2009 | May 2009 | April 2009 | March 2009 | February 2009 | January 2009 | December 2008 | November 2008 | October 2008 | September 2008 | August 2008 | July 2008 | June 2008 | May 2008 | April 2008 | March 2008 | February 2008 | January 2008 | December 2007 | November 2007 | October 2007 | September 2007 | August 2007 | July 2007 | June 2007 | May 2007 | April 2007 | March 2007 | February 2007 | January 2007 | December 2006 | November 2006 | October 2006 | September 2006 | August 2006 | July 2006 | June 2006 | May 2006 | April 2006 | March 2006 | February 2006 | January 2006 | December 2005 | November 2005 | October 2005 | September 2005 | August 2005 | July 2005 | June 2005 | May 2005 | April 2005 | March 2005 | February 2005 | January 2005 | December 2004 | November 2004 | October 2004 | September 2004 | August 2004 | July 2004 | June 2004 | May 2004 | April 2004 | March 2004 | February 2004 | January 2004 | December 2003 | November 2003 | October 2003 | September 2003 | August 2003 | July 2003 | June 2003 | May 2003 | April 2003 | March 2003 | February 2003 | January 2003 | December 2002 | November 2002 | October 2002 | September 2002 | August 2002 | July 2002 | June 2002 | May 2002 | April 2002 | March 2002 | February 2002 | January 2002 | December 2001 | November 2001 | October 2001 | September 2001 | August 2001 | July 2001 | June 2001 | May 2001 | April 2001 |

Recent Entries

In-Flight Wi-Fi and In-Flight Bombs
Can WPA Protect against Firesheep on Same Network?
Southwest Sets In-Flight Wi-Fi at $5
Eye-Fi Adds a View for Web Access
Firesheep Makes Sidejacking Easy
Wi-Fi Direct Certification Starts
Decaf on the Starbucks Digital Network
Google Did Snag Passwords
WiMax and LTE Not Technically 4G by ITU Standards
AT&T Wi-Fi Connections Keep High Growth with Free Service

Site Philosophy

This site operates as an independent editorial operation. Advertising, sponsorships, and other non-editorial materials represent the opinions and messages of their respective origins, and not of the site operator. Part of the FM Tech advertising network.


Entire site and all contents except otherwise noted © Copyright 2001-2010 by Glenn Fleishman. Some images ©2006 Jupiterimages Corporation. All rights reserved. Please contact us for reprint rights. Linking is, of course, free and encouraged.

Powered by
Movable Type

« Unbranded Starbucks Has Free Wi-Fi | Main | Barnes & Nobles Switches to Free Wi-Fi »

July 27, 2009

Verizon Adds Free Hotspots for DSL, Fiber Customers

Verizon will provide its medium-and-faster-speed DSL and fiber (FiOS) customers with free national Wi-Fi hotspot access: The service, provided by Boingo and rumored to be in the works earlier this year, allows Verizon to match some of Cablevision's offer in overlapping territory, but to also compete with cable operators and future competitive services elsewhere. The directory is available, but lame.

Cablevision has committed $300m to a tri-state (NY, NJ, and Conn.) buildout of outdoor Wi-Fi to its broadband customers in those same states. Verizon, in contrast, has turned to Boingo Wireless to provide service. Boingo couldn't comment on particulars, but said the deal applied to all Verizon business units; Boingo's previous contract was just with Verizon's business group.

Software is required to access the network. Verizon customers have to log in at to download the package. It's likely a private label version of Go Boingo, the lightweight software that the aggregator switched to that automatically recognizes and offers to log in to Boingo-affiliated hotspots. It's available for Mac OS X and Windows. Update: Correction! Boingo's software is Mac and Windows compatible; Verizon's private-label software is currently available for Windows XP (32-bit) and Vista (via @siracusa).

Verizon customers with the cheapest flavors of DSL (slower than 3 Mbps) and FiOS (slower than 20 Mbps) don't get the service. AT&T once divided its customers for free Wi-Fi, too, but eventually (and quite a while ago) simply gave it away. It wasn't an incentive for upgrades, clearly, so why bogart it.

(There's a sideshow going on about an Apple tablet that would be exclusively introduced by Verizon late this year or early next that would have 3G and Wi-Fi access. I don't buy it. I can't see a tablet with 3G, because that would limit sales to those willing to pay a large monthly fee. It's much more likely Apple would release a large iPod touch with Wi-Fi only.)

Now in a bit of what you could call a business conflict, Boingo resells AT&T's Wi-Fi service. IDG News Service noted that Boingo had 30,000 hotspots in the US, and that only 7,500 of those were from AT&T's network, which doesn't make sense. AT&T operates nearly 20,000 locations; 7,500 would represent all the Starbucks outlets. JiWire shows 65,000 hotspots in the U.S., but that includes free locations, such as libraries and chains that aren't incorporated into roaming deals.

IDG was told by Boingo and Verizon that some locations wouldn't be available, but wouldn't specify how many. When I check Verizon's hotspot locator, Starbucks locations are included, as well as Barnes & Noble, also operated by AT&T. In fact, in Washington State, I had trouble finding anything but B&N and Starbucks.

Since the announcement was made, we assume that all is well, but there has to be some chafing at AT&T, since it wouldn't want to enable its biggest cellular competitor.

This initial announcement only covers Verizon broadband, not Verizon Wireless phones and customers. That might be in part because of this conflict, but I don't know anything concrete. Offering free national Wi-Fi coupled with 3G service (whether laptop or smartphone) would be a good move for Verizon, even as the company requires that all future smartphones include Wi-Fi.

While Wi-Fi is a cheap way to offload data use from expensive and sometimes congested 3G networks, Verizon has long been a doubter. It's late to the game here, with no investment of its own, and thus has to bleed money out to offer the service, beholden to other firms and even AT&T nearly directly. Cablevision and AT&T have their operations in house, facing capital and operating expenses, but being able to adjust and conserve those. AT&T even further collects revenue from walk-up customers and non-landline/3G subscribers, too.

GigaOm's Om Malik makes the reasonable suggestion here: maybe Verizon should buy Boingo? In fact, when I was briefed by Boingo, my first comment was, "You're calling to tell me that you were bought by Verizon?"


Why are there still companies in business who insist on doing things the hard, incompatible way when there are easy, compatible ways?

All you really need for password-protected wi-fi is a browser page with a login. The network blocks all traffic from a given connection until the user visits the page and enters the username and password. Done. Any device with a web browser can gain access, no extra software needed.

Sigh...for a company with some really cool technology, Verizon sure can be a bunch of idiots sometimes.

Don't hold your breath trying to register for this service: I've spent over two hours with Verizon tech support trying to figure out why Verizon thinks my account-3 Mbps DSL--isn't eligible, even though Verizon's wi-fi page says that you only need a 1.5 Mbps DSL account. So far I've bounced between billing, marketing, customer account management, DSL, FIOS, *and* wireless tech support!

Has Cablevision / Optonline actually spent $300M?

If so, they got as much value out of this as they get from all the money they spent on their NY Knicks free agents.

I have tried to use about 10 different WiFi so-called hot spots, as listed on their website, and none of them worked. At some, I got a connection but such weak bandwidth that email wouldn't even download. At others, there was no wifi offering available at all. When I wrote to tech support, they of course turned it into an issue about my system. They showed no interested in actually correcting the network.

Verizon's FIO compeitive threat has made Cablevision add more HD channels, so maybe this will light a fire under their shoddy WiFi effort.

Please note my phrasing: Cablevision has committed $300m. I have no idea what percentage it's spent, but probably a decent proportion given coverage areas.

I don't hold a brief for them, but that's unfortunate that you're having a bad experience with both service and tech support, as I have heard generally positive things about the network.

It's possible Cablevision staff read this blog (I know some do), and will reach out to offer some help.

Leave a comment