More on WiFi Metro: New Coalition to Make 802.11b More Affordable, Flexible

Posted by:
Date: Friday, January 25th, 2002, 00:00
Category: Archive

Arturo Pereya, General Manager, WiFi Metro, spoke with Go2Mac and filled us in with additional details of this Bay Area-based Airport/802.11b wireless network. News to watch: WiFi Metro’s sister company, HereUAre, is working to offer unlimited roaming across other networks, making Airport solutions more viable for many users than they are now.


Arturo Pereya, General Manager, WiFi Metro, spoke with Go2Mac and filled us in with additional details of this Bay Area-based Airport/802.11b wireless network. News to watch: WiFi Metro’s sister company, HereUAre, is working to offer unlimited roaming across other networks, making Airport solutions more viable for many users than they are now.

WiFi Metro was founded in October 2001, and is currently incubated by communications venture capital firm ComVentures. The company offers a number of high-speed 802.11b access points in the Bay Area coffee shops, restaurants, and lounges, with expansion throughout the state scheduled for this quarter. As we’ve noted before on Go2Mac, the 802.11b format used in Apple’s Airport wireless technology allows for very fast speeds; WiFi Metro’s “hotspot” locations operate up to 200x faster than dialup.

A prohibitive downside of using your Airport card on the road has been price. For example, the MobileStar network only offers unlimited access via a $29.95/mo plan with a 12-month service contract. WiFi Metro is an easier-to-stomach $19.95/mo without a service contract. (A current promotion reduces this to $9.95/mo for a limited time.)

The bigger obstacle for many users is the proliferation of different networks, and here’s where the really good news comes in: via HereUAre, WiFi Subscribers are granted unlimited roaming on hundreds of “JumpStart” locations, including the extensive MobileStar network. Roaming is free through March 2002 as the companies involved try to gather data about usage patterns and set rates. Let’s hope they decide to set those rates low; lower rates are likely to dramatically speed adoption of wireless technology — the success of digital cell phones is an excellent example. Right now, it’s cheaper for someone in NYC to join WiFi Metro and roam over MobileStar’s Starbucks locations in Manhattan than to join MobileStar directly, while the access remains the same!

WiFi Metro envisions wireless access points as ‘Internet Stations’ where users can ‘slurp’ up bandwidth, surf, and e-mail, without being confined to home and office (and sometimes disappointing bandwidth in those locations). We’ll continue to follow this story on Go2Mac as it evolves, and as always, welcome your feedback.

Recent Posts

Comments are closed.