With all of the hype and buzz around free WiFi and big investments in companies trying to bring free connectivity to a neighborood near you, including venture-funded Fon, Google’s new service for Mountain View residents and employees and Wireless Silicon Valley…one company is taking a different approach. They are making Wifi earn money for you!
Founded by David Sidrane and Rob Harding, WifiTastic officially introduced its public BETA program recently. Unlike the others, WifiTastic enables any broadband subscriber to create a revenue generating hotspot, providing high speed, wireless internet access to users of WiFi-ready laptops, PCs, Macs, and PDAs. In a sense, it’s a one stop shop package to seamlessly resell shared access to the Web.
By setting up a commercial hotspot (within minutes), owners can earn money by charging people in the vicinity of their wireless router to connect for a fixed hourly, daily or monthly fee. WifiTastic handles the billing and returns 60% of the proceeds directly to the hotspot owner.
The service is compatible with the Linksys WRT54G router.Users can simply purchase a pre-configured router or update their existing Linksys router by downloading and installing a free firmware update from the company.
“WifiTastic is the easiest, fastest, and cheapest way to set up a secure, reliable commercial WiFi hotspot,” said David Sidrane, Co-Founder of WifiTastic. “Instead of providing advertising-supported WiFi access, we’re letting any broadband users earn money by securely sharing their high speed access. Whether it’s with neighbors at home or work, or offering Internet in their café, bar, or hotel, WifiTastic, for the first time, makes it practical for anyone to operate a WiFi hotspot.”
As part of the beta promotion, the Linksys WRT54GL router is availabledirectly from WifiTastic for free. The BETA program is expected to last through May 2006. BETA testers can register now at www.WifiTastic.com.
Now there are discussions as to whether or not “reselling” broadband access is permitted by ISPs. Honestly, the legalities of it are going to be on a case by case basis. You’ll have to read your contract if you feel obligated to bother. In my opinion, I think this is a very interesting approach. It comes at a time when free WiFi is a value-added, something used to lure customers and keep them coming back. But in residential and high traffic locales, not driven by the ability to access the Web, it makes sense.
Tags: fon, wifitastic, wifi, hotspot, linksys, beta, wireless, wireless silicon valley, silicon valley, google, mountain view, joint venture, Silicon Valley Network, vc, venture+captial, david sidrane, rob harding, smartphonecentral, hobbyist software