Adoption of public Wi-Fi has progressed rapidly in the past year, driven by increased awareness, availability of access, and prevalence of devices with embedded Wi-Fi. The usage of public Wi-Fi increased from 14 percent of the online population in 2004 to 20 percent in 2005, according to research from JupiterKagan, and has again increased significantly between 2005 and 2006.
"Public Wi-Fi adoption has progressed across all age and income groups, but adoption is highest among higher income and younger age segments," highlights Ina Sebastian, Wi-Fi analyst, JupiterKagan. "Lack of access need and equipment are currently the top two inhibitors to adoption for consumers who do not use hotspots."
The majority of hotspot users use it for free, and willingness to pay has not kept pace with the increasing interest in using hotspots. Fifty-eight percent of public Wi-Fi users have accessed hotspots for free in 2005, says Sebastian.