VentureBeat is reporting today that more than 100,000 people in the San Francisco area have used Meraki’s Free the Net WiFi service. That’s good news for the city, considering the much-talked about Earthlink service was abandoned. Maybe the business model is the reason:
Unlike Earthlink, Meraki isn’t seeking the city government’s financial support or approval, and it isn’t looking to make money from the network, either. Instead, [Chief Executive Sanjit Biswas] describes Free the Net as a “testbed” and showcase for the company’s wireless technology, which Meraki then sells elsewhere.
The company also runs local ads, but apparently doesn’t make any money from them.
Wireless is something I hope to talk more about at the upcoming BarCampEdmonton1. I would love to see a wireless service in Edmonton with over 100,000 users. I think the Meraki approach (not relying on the government) is probably the best way to accomplish that.
My friend Eric is going to be enabling WiFi at BarCampEdmonton1, so if you’re interested in learning more about how Meraki and Open Mesh work, definitely come down and ask some questions! We’d love to show you how it works.
And if you’d like to help expand the network in Edmonton, check out wirelessedmonton.ca.