Wi-Fi hotspots aggregator Boingo has become the latest WLAN player to offer a 'hotspot in a box' package to venue owners keen to hop onto the wireless Internet access bandwagon.
And it reckons such sites can easily net profits of $300-400 a month if they sign up.
Boingo's Hot Spot in a Box offer incorporates a Linksys wireless gateway unit ready for connection to an "existing" broadband link - ie. connectivity's not part of the package. Actually, neither is the router, really. Essentially, venues just go out and buy a $230 Linksys Wireless-G VPN Broadband Router (model number WRV54G) from any retailer then download the firmware that ties the box into the Boingo network, along with appropriate set-up details.
From the middle on May, WRV54Gs will ship with said firmware pre-installed, and Linksys will market the product with a 'Start your own Hotspot' logo on the box. This is good news for Boingo, since every WRV54G that ships has the potential to expand its network of affiliated hotspots, effectively for free.
So how does Boingo it calculate profits of $300-400 a month? It assumes that each month ten users will sign up for its monthly package, yielding the venue a $20 commission a head. And every time someone pays to use the WLAN, the venue gets $4 for a 'pay as you go' punter or $1 if they're a Boingo subscriber. Out of all that, the venue needs to pay for the $230 router and whatever monthly broadband tariff it's on.
Boingo pays the venue out of what it takes from the user. The question for venues is whether they can drum up enough usage to make it worthwhile. To help, Boingo will provide in-store marketing information - including a host of Intel Centrino window stickers - to help persuade customers to pull out their wireless-enabled laptops and get surfing. ®
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