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NewsForge: The Right Way to Run a Wi-Fi Cafe

May 12, 2006, 11:30 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nathan Willis)

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"One of the benefits of living in a place as exotic as Abilene, Texas, is that it presents you with a choice of not one but three Internet-connected coffee shops. Last week, I spent an afternoon in each, scouting for the place I'll go to hole up and get work done this summer when the triple-digit temperatures hit, when mentally calculating the air conditioning costs begins to prove too distracting at home. I haven't yet reached a final decision, but I have some choice words for anyone weighing the idea of starting up a new Internet coffee shop.

"Before I begin, let's be crystal clear about one thing: When I say Internet-connected coffee shop, I mean free Internet. I'm looking at you, T-Mobile and Starbucks--if I'm interested in paying for a wireless connection, I can do that pretty much anywhere (not to mention more cheaply) without you..."

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