Buying Hotspotzz in a Box

By Eric Griffith

February 13, 2003

The Salt Lake City vendor that supplied public Wi-Fi at the Winter Olympics and Sundance Film Festival has for sale a kit to make any public venue a member of its network.

Hotspotzz is launching a new program to bring more venue owners looking to provide Wi-Fi access to customers into the Hotspotzz network.

The company is selling a kit, called "Hotspotzz in a Box," for $500. Location owners will find inside the access point too hook up to their broadband connection, a setup guide, and a number of items for promoting use of the hotspot to customers including a window sticker, table tents, and brochures. They also throw in $500 in scratch cards for access that the venues can either give out promotionally or resell.

Henry Smith, president of Hotspotzz, says locations can "either have broadband already [such as cable or DSL] or they can contact a rep at IKANO and we'll walk them through getting it."

Hotspotzz is the wireless hotspot arm of Salt Lake City, UT-based IKANO. Hotspotzz was purchased from hereUare Communications in the summer of 2002, when it was known as WiFi Metro. IKANO has since expanded well behind the original locations on the west coast and merged it with other hotspots it was providing.

The hardware in the Hotspotzz kit is from Colubris. Smith says once it's deployed, the company monitors things at the access point level from their network operation centers (NOCs) in Salt Lake City, Toronto, and Toledo, OH. They also provide 24 hour/7 day a week free end user tech support. Venue owners who don't want to be network help desks can let their customers make a call to Hotspotzz toll-free. (They do not supply the Wi-Fi card for laptops and PDAs, however, that's still up to the end user.)

Scratch cards for the service can be purchased by end users in 1, 2 or 12 hour increments. There's also a pay-as-you-go option or a monthly subscription. Prices range from $2.95 for one hour to $19.95 for a month of unlimited wireless access. End user subscribers who get the service on a monthly basis also get unlimited dial-up access.

You may want to wait before sinking your $500 into the kit, however: Smith say the kit's "price will move quickly down to $299."

Hotspotzz currently runs over 100 public access wireless locations. They recently helped provide some of the free wireless access used by the movie industry attendees at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival;, IKANO was instrumental in networking at the 2002 Winter Olympics.

Hotspotzz is not alone in offering a starter kit for venue owners. Other companies with kits include Boingo Wireless, Airpath Wireless,and FatPort.



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