WiFi Metro to become HotSpotzz

By Eric Griffith

August 30, 2002

hereUare has sold off the Bay Area-based WiFi Metro WISP to dial-up and DSL provider IKANO, where the service will get a name change to HotSpotzz. hereUare lives on only to license its technology.

In July hereUare Communications put itself up for sale and said at the time that if it couldn't sell in two weeks, the company would "go away."

Over a month later, hereUare is still with us, though in a much smaller form. The company that once claimed it had 47% of the hotspot market in the United States is now down to a "much smaller crew" of employees according to CEO Clark Dong. In addition, hereUare has sold off the high profile WiFi Metro wireless Internet service provider to Utah-based IKANO Communications.

IKANO, which means "to enable" in Greek, provides private label Internet and IP services -- for example, they're the enabler behind the ISP for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The company headquarters is in Salt Lake City, but they have offices in Cincinnati, Toronto, and San Francisco where WiFi Metro was established.

WiFi Metro had 40 public access points in San Francisco, Seattle, and Chicago and was known for areas called 'hotzones' that would blanket entire city neighborhoods with an 802.11-based 'cloud' for public access. These areas will be re-launched under IKANO's Hotspotzz brand. The company currently has 149 Hotspotzz locations in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Chicago, Seattle, and Boston. IKANO was behind the first wireless network deployment in Salt Lake City and Park City, and developed the wireless networks used in some areas at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

hereUare was unable to raise money to keep going in the current economy and thus put its holdings up for sale.

"In this market, the businesses that can survive are those that have existing revenue," says Dong.

IKANO is profitable, and is a "multi-million dollar" company according to their Web site. The company has over 300 employees and 200 branded Internet partners.

Dong says that hereUare will live on licensing its technology to enable other network providers, but far from its hey day of a few short months ago.

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