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Will Computer Users Warm Up to Hot Spots?

Techstination feature for Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Will computer users warm up to hotspots? Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Hotspots are locations where wireless Internet access is available... mostly in cafes, hotels and airports. 20 thousand exist now and that number is forecast grow sixfold over the next two years. But is all of that investment worthwhile?

"Our survey of frequent business travelers showed that approximately one out of ten at this date and time have had personal, direct experience using a hotspot for business or other reasons."

Intel consumer education manager Ralph Bond. The world's biggest computer chip maker is organizing One Unwired Day... .where many hotspots will be free on the 25th of this month. With subscriptions and fees varying depending on the access provider and very few roaming agreements in place... WiFi hotspots face some challenges before they become really useful. Bond acknowledges...

"It is a case where as a frequent business traveler it's not unlikely for me in a day to have one or two accounts going. We do need, in my opinion, to reach the point where we have with our cell phones. And that is behind the scenes roaming capability. Someday, I hope I'll never have to think about that and that all the pay structure and all of the issues behind the scenes in making this happen are transparent to me."

At least one high speed Internet service provider, Verizon, is offering its subscribers free wireless access throughout New York City. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.