lgreco writes "Recently I was trying to convince a business man who is about to open an Internet Cafe, to provide WiFi at no charge. I argued about increased business and royalty and proposed that the infrastructure cost these days is reasonable and the recurring cost, along with the amortized payoff of the initial investment, can be recovered by adding a few cents to each beverage, etc. In spite of the numerous discussions on the merits of free WiFi v. paid at coffee shops, restaurants, etc, I was interested in hearing what do you think about the issue and if there are solid examples of successful businesses that offered free WiFi." If you were going to argue for or against this issue, what arguments would you use?"A lot of proprietors seem to be concerned about the maintenance issue. Not so much about the hardware maintenance than software: auditing etc. Some are also concerned about legal ramifications if their customers are caught downloading music or movies illegally.
I am not aware of any Internet cafe or similar business that got hit by our beloved RIAA but what if their lawyers subpoena a small proprietor for download records? If you are running a shoestring infrastructure with a cable modem with an Airport base station what kind of logs could you possibly proviide? If a kid walks in for a lemonade and starts downloading porn what do you tell the parents when they sent their lawyer to pay you a visit?
It would seem that if you let a provider offer the WiFi service at your place of business for a fee, they can deal with liabilities, maintenance etc, so this is one less thing to worry about when setting up the business. Yet expecting your customers to pay $6-$10/hr for WiFi is so ridiculous and such a turn off for them."