Skype touts FREE* Wi-Fi across the UK
* If enough small biz cough up a tenner a month
For a tenner a month Skype will let a business share its Wi-Fi network with Skype customers, but the biz will get window stickers and porn filtering too, so what's not to love?
Online voice-chat outfit Skype and partner Wicoms will provide a free Wi-Fi access point to plug into a broadband connection, and a website to monitor its usage, along with the aforementioned stickers declaring the premises part of the Skype Wi-Fi network - which is free to use for signed-up punters. The pair will even share the email addresses of those who log on, which is all very magnanimous.
Your business will have to provide the internet connectivity, but traffic will be routed through Skype's web filter to cut out porn and the more obvious phishing sites, and Wicoms will provide a helpline for customers and businesses to ensure things keep running.
The helpline, and big bold website, betray the target demographic for the offering. Big companies are signing big deals with O2 and its ilk to offer free Wi-Fi throughout their chains.
Skype's up-front pricing (complete with discounts - less than £8 a month if one pays annually), and technical simplicity, is designed to appeal to pubs, B&Bs and other small businesses that want a hassle-free way to offer free internet access to punters.
Skype insists on calling the wireless access point a router: technically accurate but also misleading. But businesses get to keep the hardware even if they leave the service, so there's an incentive to try it for a month even if there's no long-term plan. ®
nope, totally lost here...
So you can give Skype a tenner and they will then let you give away your bandwidth to the great unwashed? I'm not the sharpest tool in the box, but I really zero absolutely no reason for anyone to want to do this at all... where is the benefit to the business??
Simple enough for who?
Simple enough for you (and most people who read the Reg).
What about the people who aren't technically-experienced? How much would they pay for the kit and set-up (plus maintenance) to a third party? For a tenner a month, how many hours of technical support would you get?
My reading of this is that they (Wicoms/Skype) do all the work and for your tenner you give customers the same kind of access the big boys give. Tempting for a lot of the people I know running small customer-related businesses.
Re: nope, totally lost here...
"... if you are a small coffee shop or pub or cafe etc you can add a useful facility to encourage people to visit your establishment, for an extremely small fee, and stop them going to Costa or McDonalds to get their free wifi fix."
Given that a prerequisite for this service is a functional broadband Internet connection, my small business can offer that for free, skip the small fee and achieve a less restrictive result (customers using my free WiFi don't need a Skype account).