US to get national wireless Internet access

AT&T, Intel and IBM, and investors Apax Partners and 3i have joined forces to create a new company, Cometa Networks, that will provide broadband, wireless Internet access across the US.

Cometa Networks plans to provide the service to telecommunications companies, Internet Service providers (ISPs), cable operators and wireless carriers, who then can offer their customers wireless Internet access, using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, also called 802.11. Cometa will also offer wireless Internet access to enterprise customers through the participating carriers.

The company plans to work with major national and regional retail chains, hotels, universities and real estate firms to deploy the broadband wireless access service in ‘hot spots’ throughout the top 50 US metropolitan areas.

Cometa’s service will make it possible for users to keep existing sign-on procedures, email addresses, IDs, passwords and payment methods – regardless of whether they are accessing the Internet via an ISP, corporate virtual private network, telecommunications provider or cable operator.

Cometa Networks’ 802.11 network access is targeted to begin roll out during 2003.