Free Wi-Fi is it worth Implementing?

14 Oct 2010 by Diane Shawe

The Effects of EU Directive on Free Wi-Fi

Extract from proximity White Paper ‘Enabling Bluetooth technology to aid location-based Big Society Partnerships for Prosperity’ October 2010
As the Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Super-fast broadband is the electricity of the digital age….it must be for all-not just for some…We have already decided to commit public funding to ensure existing broadband reaches nearly every household in Britain by 2012”.

Many councils and commercial businesses around the UK are exploring the opportunity to deliver free wi-fi to their customers, visitors, residents and businesses.

However, there are two main points to consider.

A. Taking Wi-Fi interoperability for granted

Wi-Fi Interoperability should never be assumed. As 802.11n makes its way onto new smartphones and tablets, wireless administrators should stay sceptical about interoperability, warns Andrew Garcia from e week Europe publications.

Most of the mobile phone devices have not received Wi-Fi interoperability certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance especially if they are more than 18 months old. Nevertheless, devices such as Apple’s iPad and iPhone 4, Motorola’s Droid X, and the BlackBerry Torch 9800 are a sampling of new 802.11n-enabled devices likely to be connected to enterprise Wi-Fi networks.

B. Retention of Data

Summary of Directive 2006/24/EC (15 March 2006)
on the retention of data generated or processed with the provision of publicly available electronic communication services or of public communications networks

The requirements apply to retention of data in relation to all providers of Internet access, Internet email and Internet telephony services.

The Directive requires that data necessary to trace the source of a communication is stored. This means that the individual user ID, telephone number, and name and address of the subscriber using the service at the time of a communication must be stored. In addition, the same data must be stored so that the destination of a communication can be traced. Data must also be stored so that the date, time and duration of the communication can be traced, including the date and time of the log-in and log-off of the user.

The data must be stored for a minimum of 6 months, and destroyed after 2 years. The data must be stored securely, which means that service providers must ensure that it cannot be tampered with or altered, and that only specially authorised personnel can access the data. It must be stored in such a way that it can be supplied without undue delay to law enforcement authorities.

When did it come into force in the UK?

The Directive will be enacted into UK law before it becomes effective. This had to happen between 15 September 2007 and 15 March 2009 at the latest. Given the UK’s stance and concerns about combating terrorism, as well as their recent enthusiasm for enacting anti-terrorism legislation it seems likely that they will implement the directive reasonably quickly

Who will have to pay for implementation of this new law?

The company or county providing the Internet access to the end-user will have to bear the cost of setting up, maintaining and managing the retention of data, whether the Wi-Fi service is charged for or not.

As the objective of the EU directive is combating terrorism, it will apply to those locations that offer free Wi-Fi services even if their core business is as an Internet Service Provider and they do not profit from their service.
Importantly the EU Directive will now govern service providers not previously obligated to retain data stipulations, Frost & Sullivan notes 4.

To comply with the law the business will need the following equipment:

• Radius server for authenticating users
• Storage server for holding data
• Database to store user details and internet data

The cost of setting up such a service will increase astronomically, with hardware and labour setup costs running well into thousands of pounds, and monthly hosting, storage and data management fees exceeding hundreds of pounds per month.

This high level of cost and management will deter independent establishments wishing to entice customers to their coffee shop or hotel with free Wi-Fi from providing such a service in the future. So exploring alternate ways of communicating directly with mobile phone users is essential.

i-send intends to introduce emerging technologies that can aid location-based communication for greater prosperity. If you are interested in exploring the aspects of bluetooth proximity marketing and the advantages, then request a copy of our White Paper 2010.

Contents of White Paper                                Click to request a copy
* The Big Society Policy and Challenges for Collaborative Prosperity.
* Councils and Mobile Technology
* Technology saves Councils Quarter of a billion by using Location based technology
* Leicestershire piloted Bluetooth proximity for it Safer Community Strategy.
* Helping the local economy respond to the recession.
* How is Bluetooth developing?
* Bluetooth to launch version 4 for 2011/12
* No need for Cabling
* EU R&TTE Directive (Radio and Telecommunication Terminal Equipment)
* The Effects of EU Directive on Free Wi-Fi
* Taking Wi-Fi interoperability for granted
* Retention of Data
* Print v Digital Marketing & Data Collection.
* The rapid evolution of Mobile Smartphones
* Intelligent Mobile Marketing
* Intelligent targeting
* Access for the Visually Impaired
* Bluetooth Location Based Technology a Breakthrough
* Commissioning the launch of a Proximity or Pilot Schemes
* I-send Conclusion

Click to request copy of White Paper

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