More than a year ago, I started thinking about newspaper-sponsored free wi-fi. In Ventura, the coverage area was so suburban, I wasn’t sure there was a natural fit. I saw it more as a metro play.
Free wi-fi is something I looked at in Ventura, but the geographic area of the DMA was large, and even for some place as confined as downtown Ventura, it’s a tough task and a bit pricy, according to my research. I shelved the idea in favor of other priorities.
It is still a project that I find mildly interesting. I see opportunities for reader engagement, branding and advertising. But technology is changing so fast, so many other hot spots are popping up, the time for newspapers to take a lead in this market may already be passing.
Paid Content reports that The Pilot in North Carolina is the latest newspaper to take a stab at this idea (I’m trying to remember now which other paper was planning free wi-fi a month or two ago).
As a matter of curious coincidence: I’m writing this while sitting in Dagny’s, a coffee shop in downtown Bakersfield with free wireless.