So here’s a hypothetical situation for you. Let’s say that there’s a Starbucks in the high street. Let’s say that this Starbucks runs a wireless network in association with T-mobile. And let’s say that they charge for access to this wireless network. Now let’s say that above this Starbucks is a flat. And let’s say that in that flat is a geek. And let’s say that this geek is running his own Wifi node, that he leaves open to the general public and advertises on something like consume.net. So the average customer to Starbucks has two options – the pay-for service supplied by Starbucks or the free one run by the guy upstairs.
Now here’s the thing – how long do we think it would be before Starbucks tried to shut him down? Days? Hours? Minutes? And why do I get the feeling that they’d probably be successful in doing so? This seems to be a situation that’s likely to crop up in the next six to eight months or so (if it hasn’t done so already) so I’m interested – what would the legal implications be?