Billboards: Would-be Wi-Fi Competitors?

Could CBS deploy the nation's largest Wi-Fi networks through its billboards? The idea is certainly being tossed around. Whether it makes sense or not is another story, though.

Recently, I talked to Cyriac Roeding, executive vice president of CBS Mobile, the newly-formed division of CBS that's focused on all things wireless.

And Roeding told me that CBS is considering turning billboards that are property of CBS Outdoor into Wi-Fi access points. If CBS does give this initiative a green light, the network could become the U.S.'s largest Wi-Fi service provider, Roeding says. After all, CBS's billboards line many strip malls, highways, buildings all over the nation.

I am not sure that, at this point, such a roll-out would make sense. After all, citywide Wi-Fi deployments are gaining steam. And private companies like Wayport and Boingo have been in this market for years. CBS might find it hard to compete against these established rivals -- unless it choses to compete on content. Perhaps a CBS Wi-Fi user would be able to gain access to some exclusive CBS content?

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