Find the latest episode of "The Uncertain Hour" here. Listen

Portland unplugged

Lisa Napoli Nov 16, 2006


SCOTT JAGOW: Microsoft is helping to roll out a free Wi-Fi service in Portland, Oregon. It’ll be paid for by advertising. Lisa Napoli tells us what’s in it for Microsoft.

LISA NAPOLI: In building a new citywide Wi-Fi network, it’s hoping lots of local advertising dollars will pop up. The local ad market is a multi-billion dollar industry.

Glenn Fleishman’s editor of WiFi Networking News. He says an ad-supported network like Microsoft’s means you get to surf for free, but you have to live through commercial messages.

GLENN FLEISHMAN: A person who’s using Wi-Fi in a park, when they flip open a laptop the Wi-Fi network can deliver an ad that would say, hey there’s a pizza parlor five blocks away a fender repair place two blocks away or you can get 10 percent off at Powel’s books which is just behind you.

Of course, some critics prefer what several other city’s Wi-Fi projects are promising: Pay a fee and skip the commercials.

In Los Angeles, I’m Lisa Napoli for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.