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October 10, 2005
The battle of the wireless network stars
Verizon's efforts to popularize its broadband wireless Internet service (EV-DO) are coming at the expense of city Wi-Fi providers, according to the New York Post. As Internet users and municipalities around the country continue to embrace the idea of citywide Wi-Fi networks, Verizon has been working overtime on a plan to protect its market position in the battle over wireless Internet access. Apparently, Philadelphia's recent decision to deploy a citywide Wi-Fi network - essentially turning the city into a giant Wi-Fi hotspot - was a final wakeup call. In response, Verizon has launched a new advertising campaign that plays up the advantages of EV-DO while taking a few "not-so-subtle" shots at Wi-Fi:
"In one TV spot now airing in the city, a man at a Starbucks-like coffee shop is shown trying to get online using a Wi-Fi hotspot while annoying customers hover around him and an even more annoying folk singer garbles in the background. "Don't get caught in a not-so-hot spot," the narrator warns. And a full-page print ad that ran last week in The Wall Street Journal screamed, "Wi-Fi? Why Bother? Get Broadband Access Instead."
Verizon's new ad campaign has not gone unnoticed by ardent Wi-Fi supporters in the city, such as Andrew Rasiej, who recently ran for Public Advocate on a platform that called for citywide Wi-Fi access. According to Mr. Rasiej and others, the cable and DSL incumbents are scared to death of Wi-Fi and will do whatever they can to cripple the municipal Wi-Fi movement.
(photo credit: New York Post)
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