Microsoft Corp. today announced an alliance with mobile advertising provider JiWire Inc. to begin placing ads on municipal Wi-Fi networks, starting with Portland, Ore., and Oakland County, Mich.
The two companies would not disclose terms of the alliance but said they will place ads in a variety of styles, including so-called ultramercials, which are interactive ads that Wi-Fi users agree to watch in return for free network access.
For example, a user might agree to watch an interactive ad for two minutes in order to get several hours or more of access, said Stefan Weitz, director of planning for Microsoft's MSN Web portal.
Microsoft is interested in using municipal Wi-Fi networks to expand the reach of MSN, Weitz said. Meanwhile, cities and towns are seeking ways to pay for construction and operation of Wi-Fi networks.