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Zeroband Free Broadband For Amersham?

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#1 Matthew (MPJ/Admin)

Matthew (MPJ/Admin)


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Posted 29 March 2012 - 09:17 PM

I had a flyer through the door promoting free broadband for Amersham funded by local advertising.

Web site


Good luck to them.

Matthew Jones - posting from mobile device
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#2 Bawbag


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Posted 01 April 2012 - 07:04 AM

Fair play to them for trying, I'm pretty sceptical about this as a business model though. It's been tried in the past and didn't work then when most only had one PC in the house, connected by wire to a modem. Can't see how the economics have changed now that most use smartphones, tablets and wi-fi.

They seem to be offering two choices for displaying the adverts:

1) On-screen window
2) Display on external device, presumably USB

Not sure who would pick 1) as 2) would be so easy to ignore.

For instance, I have a server, a media centre and an office PC. If I installed the software on the server (ignoring the security aspect for a minute!) and attached the advert dongle to it, I would simply never see a single advert.

Similarly, anyone in the house using a phone or laptop would never see an advert either?

Even if you only had one PC in the house, it would far too easy to stick the advert dongle on a USB extension and hide it away.

I may be missing something here, but it sure sounds like a bit of a pipe-dream.

#3 Zeroband



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Posted 01 April 2012 - 09:20 AM

Thanks for the messages of support! We could definitely use all the honest feedback we can get at this point. We would be grateful to anyone who could fill out the survey on the front page at www.zeroband.co.uk


At the moment we're carrying out the market research needed to see if both users and advertisers would go for the product and the signs are looking good.

1. You are absolutely right that the 'free product supported by ads' business model is a tricky prospect. Tech products using this model that have failed in the past usually offered a bad product and combined it with with excessively intrusive ads and an invasion of privacy that wouldn't be out of place in a George Orwell novel. They also usually try to accomplish too much on a large scale - take Free-pc.com in the late 90s as an example for all these points.

We want to offer a great product (free fibre optic broadband) and start relatively small by piloting this scheme in Amersham. We will focus on local advertisements from Bucks businesses and between users themselves who have a product/service they wish to sell or messages to broadcast - as such, it will be primarily offered to those who can prove that they are interested in getting involved in the local community to start with. It will be a gradual start (balancing customer/advertiser needs is hard!) but it will also ensure the best chance for success.

2. There won't be two methods of delivering ads to choose from - that's just part of the survey to gauge the level of interest. We will pick one (our custom hardware or screen) depending on customer and advertiser responses to our market research. As for the issues of avoiding ads and hiding the hardware - they have been thoroughly considered and there are hardware/software solutions to them. (That being said, if someone REALLY wants to avoid an advertisement, then it's quite hard to stop them - for example, I personally haven't seen a Google Ad in years thanks to the Firefox Adblock Addon!)

As I've said, we're still in the early stages and considering every single angle possible. If anyone else has any questions/comments, we would love to hear them here or via email at info@zeroband.co.uk