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Start-up Joltage unplugs Wi-Fi service

The high-speed wireless Net service, which launched less than a year ago, ceases operations because of slower-than-expected demand.

Wi-Fi service start-up Joltage will cease operating because of slower-than-expected demand that led to a drain on its finances.

The New York-based company launched less than a year ago, touting plans to sell wireless high-speed Internet access on Wi-Fi networks. But according to an e-mail sent earlier this month by Joltage founder and Chairman Andrew Weinreich, the company will discontinue its Wi-Fi subscriber and provider services. In the message, sent to subscribers and service providers, Weinreich said it appeared it would take longer than expected for Joltage to acquire enough customers on its networks for the company to sustain itself.

"We are no longer able to finance our operations as we had once hoped we would be able to," Weinreich wrote. "We will therefore no longer be able to support your operations as a venue for individuals to gain wireless access to the Internet."

The company could not be reached for comment. The content on the Joltage Web site has been removed, and only the logo appears, which refers people to an e-mail address.

Joltage joined Boingo Wireless and more recently Cometa Networks in trying to establish a viable business model by offering Wi-Fi access to customers for a fee.

Joltage identified places where Wi-Fi "hot spots" hadn't been installed and lobbied cafe owners and independent hoteliers to install wireless networks, then signed them on to its network. Hot spots are places where wireless Web access is available to the public for a fee. Joltage initially charged a monthly fee of $24.99 for up to 60 hours or an hourly fee of $1.99 an hour.

"Our goal is to build out a footprint," Weinreich said of the Joltage model last year.

In related news, Boingo said earlier this week that it has added three new hot spot operator partners, bringing its total to 25 network partners and more than 1,200 Wi-Fi hot spot locations.