Feeds

The way to do Wireless Internet is: start with wired

Broadreaching out

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Broadreach has unveiled a "ready to surf" brand of wireless Internet - with a real difference. It is mostly wired. Also, it charges by the second.
The result is that you can take your home broadband with you on the road. Already, the deal is done with BT OpenWorld and Virgin Net; others, including phone providers, are negotiating.

If you want to hear scorn poured on the conventional "WISP" concept - the wireless ISP - talk to Broadreach founder and CEO Magnus McEwen-King. He reckons people are simply wasting their money trying to create purely wireless businesses.

"We're trying to meet a need, not provide technology," he told NewsWireless.Net yesterday. We were sitting in the Virgin Megastore in the Haymarket, next to London's Piccadilly Circus; one of several Virgin stores where Broadreach has a perfectly ordinary Internet kiosk system.

It looks just like an ordinary Internet Cafe. You buy a voucher for online time at the coffee shop, you log on.

But the difference is that on this voucher, you become a member of Broadreach, and it stores your details, and - most vital detail - how much time you've used. A pound buys you 50 minutes in the morning off-peak time; 25 minutes in the afternoon - but if you only use one minute, you still have 49 minutes left. And you can use it up any time, at any Ready to Surf location.

That includes the wireless ones. Right now, this is an academic issue, because as an introductory offer, all public Ready to Surf points are free to wireless users. At the end of the trial period, however, the timer will start and your wireless connection will work exactly like the kiosk.

"WiFi is one of the smallest parts of the public access part today," said McEwen-King. "Fixed is the majority, with kiosks, or cat5 cable, or dialup, all vastly outweighing wireless. It will one day - around 2005 to 2007 - be the bulk, but we don't see it being bigger than fixed for another four years at least.

The Ready To Surf logo is one you sign up to - not just in the location where it is offered, but at your own broadband provider.

"We did a trial with BT Openworld, offering a few subscribers the option of buying time at Broadreach on top of their normal bill. It was seven times more popular than we planned for," reported McEwen-King. "The same goes for the Virgin service which we're rolling out now."

Still to be announced are one, maybe two, major mobile phone companies who will offer a Broadreach subscription, billed to your mobile phone. Like the phone service, it will be billed per second. "You really can log on for a minute, check to see if there are any emails, and if there aren't, log off, with just 60 seconds reduced from your account," McEwen-King said - and he demonstrated on the local kiosk.

Plans for the future involve enabling Virgin access along the Virgin Rail system, and eventually, adding satellite broadband to the trains themselves, so that passengers can surf using their broadband billing while travelling.

The advantage over standard WISP terms and conditions is stark. Where BT OpenZone (just one example) allows you an hour from the moment when you tear open your expensive, plastic-encased coupon, and logs you off permanently 60 minutes later even if you only stayed online for ten seconds, you can genuinely roam around with your Broadreach voucher.

It can't match a genuinely free, open hotspot - but it doesn't have to. All it has to do is be available to subscribers in places where other access is expensive or exclusive.

Full details from Broadreach. Oh, and please note that the company is Broadreach Networks, but broadreach.net is quite another organisation. This is broadreachnet.com.

© NewsWireless.Net
Some recent articles from NewsWireless.Net
North Norfolk rolls out Mesh to get rural broadband
Another hotspot in a box - price kept secret

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
Major problems beset UK ISP filth filters: But it's OK, nobody uses them
It's almost as though pr0n was actually rather popular
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
Google Nest, ARM, Samsung pull out Thread to strangle ZigBee
But there's a flaw in Google's IP-based IoT system
Microsoft unsheathes cheap Android-killer: Behold, the Lumia 530
Say it with us: I'm King of the Landfill-ill-ill-ill
All those new '5G standards'? Here's the science they rely on
Radio professor tells us how wireless will get faster in the real world
US freemium mobile network eyes up Europe
FreedomPop touts 'free' calls, texts and data
'Two-speed internet' storm turns FCC.gov into zero-speed website
Deadline for comments on net neutrality shake-up extended to Friday
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.