Wireless ISP Joltage Networks is teaming with high-speed Internet provider Atlas Broadband to continue a push for more and higher utilization public-access hotspots in the U.S. by offering free access points to Atlas customers that want to become Joltage partners.
Joltage provides the free software and backend services (authentication, tracking, billing, remuneration, security, etc.) needed to partner with venue owners that want to set up a wireless hotspot so customers can access the Internet. By teaming with Atlas, which resells T1 and DSL service from major providers all over the country including PacBell, Verizon, Covad, Bell South, and SNET, Joltage hopes to increase not only the number of hotspots it has, but also to get them in areas of high use.
“What Joltage wants to insure is high utilization hotspots,” says Joltage CEO Michael Chaplo. “If you make it where it’s unusable, it’s not worthwhile. If you look at the people who need consistent seamless access it’s travelers; so it’s hotels, train stations, airports, movie theaters, getting the car repaired…”
To be a hotspot, a venue owner needs at least a broadband Internet connection and hardware to allow wireless access. Joltage can provide the software, but if someone wants a hotspot and has no hardware setup, they have to start from scratch. Many “hotspot-in-a-box” products are emerging, but Atlas Broadband customers will be able to get a step a head — they can get setup by Atlas and get free hardware.
“[For] Atlas customers who want to be a Joltage provider, Atlas will step them through a check list, what size is area, they’ll make recommendations of the right AP, whether they have the best computer to use, [and] the broadband connection,” says Chaplo. “Atlas will order it, provision it, deliver it and set it up properly. They’ll also register them as a Joltage provider and that they’re listed on our Joltage map (via Mapquest).”
There is no one set access point that Atlas will provide. Different equipment will be used for different size venues. Atlas will continually monitor service up time, make upgrade recommendations and, according to Chaplo, they’ve worked out an agreement to use instant messaging to notify customers of troubles within three hundred seconds.
Joltage has 59 access hotspots in the United States as of this writing. The company provides 50% of the revenue generated at a hotspot running their gateway software back to the hotspot provider — the cost of use is $1.99 per hour or $24.99 per month. Joltage hotspots are not compatible with other hotspot providers such as HereUare, iPass, or Boingo.
Eric Griffith is the managing editor of 802.11 Planet.