Charging for wi-fi?

Charging for wi-fi?

The DVD format is a fiasco born out of a desire to control the way customers consume the products they buy.

I can’t imagine any parent out there who would be happy to fork out fifteen quid for a DVD full of extra features they will never have the free time to watch knowing that after a couple of weeks worth of little fingers it will become a worthless piece of unplayable plastic.

The value is the experience of your child watching the movie NOT the stone-age tech used to play it (and don’t get me started on a format that lets the media owner disable the customer’s menu features).

The smarter we consumers become (and the more we share our experiences), the more the techpants will struggle with their pointless offerings and hopefully, new value-creation networks will take over:-)

So anyway, I was just going to write about wi-fi before going off on one…

I just got a couple of tweets from a guy who was trying to get on the net from the brand-new Heathrow terminal 5. Unbeleivably, he was being asked to jump through hoops, fill in forms, and worst of all, pay! Now let me make this completely clear:

Charging for wi-fi is like charging for tap-water in a restaurant.

Hell, it’s like charging for air conditioning, or light, or cleanliness… These are all infrastructure items that are factored into the cost of the main event.

So look, you pay for your airline ticket, you pay for your state and city taxes, you pay your airport taxes, you pay for your extra luggage, you paid for the cab to the airport. You paid a king’s ransome for the latte the kid at the next table keeps threatening to spill on your keyboard so YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PAY FOR CONNECTIVITY!

Ok?!?

And just so we’re completely clear on this one, not only should you not have to pay with currency or credit, you shouldn’t have to pay with attention or privacy. No landing pages, portals or branded content, just unfettered, universal access for all.

The worst part is we’re all buying into this nonsense, the average Londoner can see five wi-fi networks from his sitting room. In a five-flat Victorian conversion counting neighbours on both sides that’s 15 broadband contracts. If you just got together with your neighbours you could share a low-contention business connection for a fraction of the cost (think about it, you’re collectively forking out £300 a month for a highly contended connection with no service contract or decent support while £50 split between you would secure a bandwidth-assured connection contract).

So if you don’t mind, cancel your broadband and talk to your neighbours and in the meantime, disable your password and open up your wireless connection :-)