McDonald’s to offer wireless Internet access:
- In a further sign of the spread of wireless Internet technology, McDonald’s restaurants in three U.S. cities will offer one hour of free high-speed access to anyone who buys a combination meal. Ten McDonald’s in Manhattan will begin offering wireless WiFi, or 802.11b, Internet access on Wednesday, McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa Howard said.
By year’s end, McDonald’s will extend the access to 300 McDonald restaurants in New York City, Chicago and a yet-unannounced California town, Howard said.
“You can come in and have an extra value meal and send some e-mail,” Howard said. Window signs will alert customers to the restaurants with WiFi access, she said.
Besides McDonald’s, Internet surfers will also be able to tote their laptops to 400 U.S. Borders book stores, hundreds of hotels and a pair of U.S. airports where WiFi access will be available by summer, companies announced Monday.
And computer maker Toshiba and chipmaker Intel say they’ll set up wireless “hot spots” in coffee shops, hotels and convenience stores across the United States.
….McDonalds’ announcement coincides with several related WiFi developments timed to coincide with the Wednesday release of Intel Corp.’s Centrino microprocessor.
The Centrino chip, tailored for laptop computers, contains a built-in WiFi transceiver that allows Internet access at speeds of up to 11 megabits per second, far faster than dial-up connections. More than a dozen computer makers will introduce new Centrino-based laptops on Wednesday. [AP]
WiFi is moving more quickly than any other Internet technology and could be the path to ubiquitous hookups at very low cost. I’m not sure I see the McDonalds and WiFi lifestyles coinciding, though – maybe that’s why McDonald’s is doing it.