George Polk: Producing Static for the Competition

Using wi-fi, George Polk is competing with some of the top cell-phone companies

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

George Polk has rattled cell-phone carriers once before. The American, 42, runs a network of wi-fi hot spots called the Cloud that allows laptop and gadget users to surf the Web for around $8.50 an hour or $17 a month at 7,500 caf├ęs, hotels, pubs, airports and other public places in Britain, Germany and Sweden. That's a service that cell-phone companies like Vodafone and Orange are struggling to sell via their 3G mobile-phone networks. Wi-fi, which uses low-cost, wireless Internet connections, has stolen some of the thunder. "I wanted to build a broadband wireless business for the last 10 years, and...

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