Seattle to Gain 250 Wi-Fi Hotspots

Cometa Networks' 250 new hotspots will afford the city the highest density of public Wi-Fi access in the nation.

Cometa Networks Inc. will install 250 Wi-Fi hotspots in the Seattle metropolitan area, giving the city the nations highest density of public Wi-Fi access.

The new hotspots will be rolled out in McDonalds, Barnes & Noble bookstores, and Tullys Coffee, affording customers a mix of Java and java. Additional sites will grace several buildings owned by Seattles Equity Office, including the Bank of America Tower (the citys tallest building) and even two country clubs.

San Francisco-based Cometas network will be rolled out as part of Intel Corp.s "One Unwired Day" on Sept. 25, when Cometa, Intel and several media companies will allow the public free use of the hotspots in a bid to win public support for the technology. AT&T Wireless will be the service provider for the Seattle launch, the firms announced.

Currently, analyst firm IDC estimates that there are 20,000 hotspots worldwide, a number expected to grow by a factor of six by 2005.

"Cometa Networks is honored to be working with such prestigious companies, both on the service delivery and the venue hosting sides of the Wi-Fi business," said Gary Weis, chief executive of Cometa, in a statement. "We believe this launch demonstrates the building momentum of our wholesale business model, offering broad consumer choice, compelling value and cost sharing for real estate partners, and a cost effective wholesale service for multiple service providers."

In a survey conducted Intel released Tuesday, the company found that 71 percent of so-called "road warriors" thought that using Wi-Fi gave them an advantage over the competition. Without it, 30 percent of business travelers do not respond to e-mail for 48 hours while on a business trip, and a third of the respondents said they had suffered serious job repercussions because they didnt have timely access to e-mail.

Discuss this in the eWEEK forum.