Billboards: Would-be Wi-Fi Competitors?

Posted by: Olga Kharif on February 27, 2007

Recently, I talked to Cyriac Roeding, executive vice president of CBS Mobile, the newly-formed division of CBS that’s focused on all things wireless.

And Roeding told me that CBS is considering turning billboards that are property of CBS Outdoor into Wi-Fi access points. If CBS does give this initiative a green light, the network could become the U.S.’s largest Wi-Fi service provider, Roeding says. After all, CBS’s billboards line many strip malls, highways, buildings all over the nation.

I am not sure that, at this point, such a roll-out would make sense. After all, citywide Wi-Fi deployments are gaining steam. And private companies like Wayport and Boingo have been in this market for years. CBS might find it hard to compete against these established rivals — unless it choses to compete on content. Perhaps a CBS Wi-Fi user would be able to gain access to some exclusive CBS content?

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.

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