Free Hotspot launches ad-funded WiFi

Advertisers are being offered the chance to reach technology-literate consumers via a new free WiFi hotspot network which launches in the UK and France this week.

Free Hotspot – see www.free-hotspot.com – will send ads to users of its WiFi network every five to seven minutes, according to chief executive Dan Toomey. The ads will only appear as “interstitials”, when users move from one website to another.

Toomey stresses that the system is totally permission-based, with Free Hotspot logos clearly displayed in areas where the service operates. Laptop and mobile users will have to agree to receiving the ads in return for full free WiFi connectivity. Those who do not will only be able to access the Free Hotspot homepage.

There are a number of WiFi hotspots around the UK, but they tend to be pay-per-use services, such as the one run by T-Mobile in 12,000 locations across Europe and the US, including Starbucks coffee shops, hotels and airport lounges.

Toomey suggests that the ability to offer free WiFi connectivity could offer venue, café and restaurant owners a competitive edge over rivals.

Toomey, who founded Free Hotspot with his own money, was previously chief executive of US connectivity company Nomadix, which runs WiFi services in many US airports. He claims that Free Hotspot will be the biggest

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