Joltage, one of the new WiFi access companies, now have their first UK access point in Purton, a small Wiltshire village a mile west of Swindon.
The Joltage service works by owners of broadband connections attaching WiFi kit to it and allowing roaming WiFi users in the local area to use their connection. The roaming WiFi users pays $25/month Joltage for the privilege and the base station owner gets paid for usage of each packet.
A seemingly neat arrangement, but currently there are two problems for Joltage. Firstly it is illegal in the UK to commercially exploit the 2.4GHz band that WiFi runs on. Secondarily, reselling ADSL is against the terms and conditions of service.
The idea behind Joltage has been running since October 2000 in the UK by a collective, consume.net, who freely share their bandwidth, making it completely legal, as neither of the problems above are triggered. Being a collective they don’t have a marketing budget but do have huge amounts of enthusiasm to see the service succeed. I’ve been watching the progress of consume.net since early 2001 and have been impressed at the way they’ve continued to improve and expand the service.