Friday, November 30, 2007

How much for your Browsing Privacy? Free WiFi.

In my experience, Wifi in Manila is quite expensive but it remains free in the provinces[1]. In Manila the price rivals that of your pricey food order. Thus, we make do with using our cellphones to browse the net or as a modem for our laptops.

I believe that the service is not affected with the number of users as long as they are all within the capacity of the provider. There is then no use of limiting the number of users, except to create a demand to be able to keep the price high. We lose more this way by failing to maximize the commodity. The companies should reevaluate this system and come up with a better way to make a profit.

WiFi is perfect, fast and mobile. The matter of the price may be improved on by allowing the provider to advertise on your browser. Some stores in the US now offer free WiFi, it allows merchants of any size to offer free advertising-supported Wi-Fi to customers on the store premises. Banner ads or short video spots or both appear before their browsing session. It targets the consumers who are the most inclined to buy the products.

The only downside is that private details of the browser are compromised to allow the advertisers to flash on to the screen. This is a tradeoff between privacy and free WiFi. It’s a matter of choice, as long as it is at the option of the user. Credit card numbers and other sensitive information need be secured but otherwise personal users will largely benefit from this setup. The “persistent messaging frame” will not be a bother, the speed from the WiFi can accommodate that. The danger is the same every time we log on to sites which offer downloadable materials. The advertisers flock our screens and even can detect our area. I can live with that as long as WiFi is free.

When The ZTE deal scandal was still raging, I found out from the news report that the WiFi service would have reached every household in the Philippines. It can cover you wherever you go even while on the road. This is wonderful news. The DSL service breaks down so often because of some reason that only their maintenance can fix. It takes them precious days to fix it and then, it never reaches the promised speed anyway. Not to mention the unsightly wires and the immobility of the router which fetter you within the house. I wish advertisers will subscribe to this idea and the WiFi providers will do too.

[1] Gen. Santos City, Cebu City and Iloilo City


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