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Carrier WiFi

MyZones Zones Out

LONDON -- The WLAN Event -- Wireless LAN broadband service provider MyZones Ltd. today admitted it has filed for administration [ed. note: Brit-speak for Chapter 11], less than twelve months after its launch at last year’s event (see MyZones Weds WiFi, B'band).

The U.K. startup won Unstrung’s Hype of the Day Award in 2003, with CEO Clive Mayhew-Begg touting the company’s business model amidst a blaze of publicity (see WLAN's Big Day Out).

“I make no mistake when I call this technology 4G,” he gushed at the time.

A year on, and Mayhew-Begg is a bit less effervescent. “We placed the company into administration last month… For the last three months we knew we couldn’t compete as a broadband service provider. We just didn’t have the resources or the funding.”

MyZones claimed to be the world’s first integrated wireless LAN broadband service, despite similar offerings from Sputnik Inc. (now refocused on corporate users) and a multitude of volunteer community “freenets” such as Consume.net in the U.K. and NYC Wireless in the U.S. (see Sputnik to Put WLAN Networking Into Orbit?).

The service allowed consumers to set up managed 802.11 networks in their homes and share their broadband connections with the neighborhood. With a range of up to 100 meters, the company was convinced users would want to share broadband costs with neighbors and the local community.

The company launched an aggressive European marketing campaign in its bid to attract user demand and was still signing deals at the end of last year (see MyZones Opens German Office, 'UK First' Debuts, DABS Partners With MyZones, and MyZones Expands in UK).

Mayhew-Begg blames market conditions for the company’s troubles. “Twelve months ago no service provider wanted users to share their broadband line. Now we are seeing the rise of pay-as-you-go broadband, which has very different effects. With pay-as-you-go broadband, service providers actually want users to share. It changes the model.”

Unstrung has been unable to confirm rumors that Mayhew-Begg is now considering the launch of an online dating service (see Something for the Weekend, Sir?).

— Justin Springham, Senior Editor, Europe, Unstrung

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