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SBC Joins Wi-Fi World

By Eric Griffith

http://www.wi-fiplanet.com/news/article.php/3364371/SBC-Joins-Wi-Fi-World.htm (Back to article)

Wayport's flat-rate hotspot program, Wi-Fi World, launches with McDonald's this year. Now Wayport has its first partner, phone and broadband provider SBC Communications .

SBC will offer its end-user customers unlimited access to the fast-food giant's wireless access for $19.95 a month via its FreedomLink service.

As reported last month, the Wi-Fi World program will feature wireless networks installed at over half of the McDonald's locations in the US. The WLAN will be used by the restaurant for various features such as cashless purchases, and by users in the restaurant to get online. Wayport plans to sell access to the network at a flat rate (reported at $32 per location per month) to major providers around the US. Terms of this agreement were not disclosed.

Special accommodations, such as in-store advertising, would be made for those Wi-Fi World partners that also provide the broadband access needed at the restaurants. SBC will do this in the 13 states where it offers broadband service via digital subscriber line (DSL) connection.

SBC is already working with Wayport on unwiring UPS Stores (formerly Mail Boxes Etc.) locations throughout the country. Wayport is doing the install of the network and will manage it for SBC.

FreedomLink hotspots are also available in various convention centers, hotels, and airports, plus SBC Park in San Francisco, where the Giants play. SBC says it plans to make 20,000 hotspots available to customers by the end of 2006. It's also working with Cingular Wireless as a hotspot partner.

FreedomLink will be bundled with SBC Yahoo! DSL access later this year at a discount.