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Carrier WiFi

A Hot Wot?

More bad news for the startups and service providers hoping to cash in on the hotspot hype: A new survey finds that seven out of ten Brits wouldn't know what one was if you dropped it on their foot.

The MORI poll, commissioned by computer manufacturer Packard Bell, found that only 29 percent of home PC users correctly identified a "WiFi hotspot" as an area covered by a wireless access point, typically set up for the Internet so that people can connect to the Web without cables.

Instead, respondents variously guessed that a WiFi hotspot could be a "posh hot tub", a microwave-ready meal, or "something smelly that had been left out in the sun for too long."

Five percent of married respondents said that the phrase described a spot of "trouble with the wife." Meanwhile, 5 percent of the single folks thought that a WiFi hotspot was bound to be a nightclub.

Which is good for a laugh, but also suggests that those in the business of providing public wireless LAN services need to do a good deal more marketing to get their message across.

Companies like Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) are already spending millions on promoting 802.11 (see Centrino: How Much?) -- although the chipmaker is more concerned with promoting its Centrino wireless chipset than building the WiFi brand (see Centrino: Building the Brand).

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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