& cplSiteName &

AT&T Launches Fast-Food WiFi

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Feed
Light Reading

MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- AT&T today announced the next phase of a major wireless fidelity (wi-fi) initiative -- the launch of its new AT&T Wi-Fi Service, offered free beginning July 30 in 60 McDonald's restaurants in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Any McDonald's customer with a wi-fi-enabled device in one of these locations can obtain high-speed Internet service at no charge until the end of August and at $2.99 a day thereafter.

AT&T Wi-Fi Service enables computer and personal digital assistant (PDA) users to surf the Internet, send and receive e-mail and obtain a host of other high-speed wireless benefits without being tethered to wires.

"AT&T is using a creative array of approaches, partnerships and resources to make the promise of the worldwide web available to all kinds of customers -- people on the go, 'windshield warriors,' students and families ... anyone who wants the connectivity and convenience that AT&T offers," said Ray Solnik, Strategic Markets Vice President at AT&T Consumer.

Solnik noted that AT&T will provide the "face to the customer" when an Internet user logs on to AT&T Wi-Fi Service at McDonald's, ensuring the customer's experience is top-notch.

The AT&T Wi-Fi Service launch includes selected McDonald's outlets in Manhattan, Staten Island and parts of Westchester County. It also includes towns such as Edison, Middletown and Tinton Falls in New Jersey, and Danbury, Fairfield, and Stamford, Connecticut.

AT&T's approach to wi-fi is multi-faceted. In December 2002, it helped form Cometa Networks, a joint venture company that provides national wireless Internet access at a variety of retail locations throughout the United States. For Cometa, AT&T provides wi-fi networking services such as local access, Internet transport, network control, monitoring and management, as well as provisioning. Cometa, in turn, aggregates wi-fi "hotspots" so service providers such as AT&T can offer its customers wireless access to the Internet and their corporate networks.

Earlier this month, AT&T announced the integration of Wi-Fi as a broadband access option for customers of AT&T's industry-leading IP VPN services. Through a business relationship with access aggregator GRIC Communications Inc., AT&T IP VPN users can get wireless access from more than 2,100 hotels, airports and convention centers in at least 20 countries.

Solnik underscored the fact that AT&T will craft other agreements as necessary in order to ensure customers get the full benefits of wi-fi. "This is a technology that could make the benefits of the Internet more accessible," he added, "and nicely mirrors our mission of providing information and communications anytime, anywhere."

According to Parks Associates, there will be as many as 2.5 million wi-fi users in the U.S. by the end of the year. Another researcher, the Yankee Group, predicts 72,480 "hotspots" in the U.S. by 2007.

AT&T Corp.

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:42:28 PM
re: AT&T Launches Fast-Food WiFi
Some of those mcdonalds might be on the interstate (I-95) rest stops. That might have a little value.
Still, I am skeptical very skeptical. My guess is that the only thing that will exceed the hot spot rollout hype will be the hot spot take down de-hype which is sure to follow in a few years.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:42:13 PM
re: AT&T Launches Fast-Food WiFi
I am intriqued by the wireless models being proposed, but is a fast food restaurant the right place? At what point do we say "give it a rest" and enjoy our meals? Plus, how do we conduct our business/leisure communications while Ronald and the host of kids romp nearby? For the restaurants, perhaps a meal is in the offering, but do we really want all those seats taken up for hours at a time? I would assume a Starbucks, Borders, or other establishment would be more in tune. I wish good luck to both the internet provider and the restaurant, but question their marriage.
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:42:07 PM
re: AT&T Launches Fast-Food WiFi
See, I'm waiting to see how this all pans out. I actually don't think its a terrible idea on Mickey's D part -- they want to try and go a bit further upmarket and they're trying to do it with WLAN and salads!

Now, I know in NYC or LA or San Fran you're probably not going to want to spend too much time in the restaurants, but if they eventually roll it out country-wide then business people outside of the metropolitan areas will know they can get wireless access at McDonalds, I think people are much more likely to set up meetings in McDonalds out in the sticks (as it were).

The question is, will the rollout ever get that far? I don't know the answer to that yet.

I wonder how much McDonalds is actually paying Cometa and Wayport for the pilot schemes they're running. I guess that it will all come down to cost in the end.

DJ Unstrung
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:41:53 PM
re: AT&T Launches Fast-Food WiFi
How do we know McD's is the one paying for the pilot? ;)
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:41:52 PM
re: AT&T Launches Fast-Food WiFi
User Rank: Light Beer
12/4/2012 | 11:40:50 PM
re: AT&T Launches Fast-Food WiFi
I believe you are correct with the remarks about the larger size cities (SF, LA, CHI, etc), but I do not feel this will pan out in the smaller cities and towns either. If you've been there in the mid-mornings/afternoons, it is the hangout of the retired-generation. A gathering spot for a generation that does not surf the cyberworld. Perhaps a local chamber meeting? They will get together and discuss chamber business over pancakes/hamburgers/salads. Where's the need for WiFi when George or Betty are sitting there with you? At breakfast time or lunch time? Far too crowded and noisy.

Thus, where is the vast revenue needed to payback the costs in here?

For McD's, I feel they have nothing to lose. But, for the provider, there is a significant cost to install all that equipment and the other charges. Unless you have one heck of a sugar daddy with deep, deep pockets, the piper may come early.
Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
Wednesday, September 14, 1:00PM EDT
What Is Agile?
Kent J. McDonald, Product Owner, Agile Alliance
Friday, September 16, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement Agile
Alan Bateman, Director, Agile Transformation
Wednesday, September 21, 1:00PM EDT
What Is DevOps?
Colin Kincaid, CTO, Service Provider, Cisco
Friday, September 23, 1:00PM EDT
How to Implement DevOps
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP's Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments

Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments

F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments

Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Accelerating Telecom Digital Transformation With Nominum DNS

8|1|16   |   12:04   |   (0) comments

Light Reading's Steve Saunders gets an update from Nominum CEO Gary Messiana on how his company is helping carriers on the digital transformation journey.
LRTV Custom TV
Reinventing Operations for a Virtual, Software-Defined World

7|28|16   |   5:23   |   (0) comments

Heavy Reading Senior Analyst Jim Hodges speaks with Accenture's Larry Socher and Matt Anderson about what service providers must do to transform their business to get the benefits of SDN and NFV including: leveraging DevOps, introducing real-time OSS and implementing analytics.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Fujitsu Sales Leader Shares Lessons Learned

7|27|16   |   5:12   |   (1) comment

As Fujitsu's only female sales leader, Annie Bogue knows the importance of asking for what you want, being flexible (she's been relocated five times), keeping a meticulous calendar, 'leaning in,' working harder than everyone else around you, being aware and more.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
VeEX Test & Measurement Solutions

7|25|16   |   08:57   |   (0) comments

Cyrille Morelle, president and CEO of VeEX Inc., talks test and measurement with Light Reading's Steve Saunders at BCE 2016. This includes innovative products such as VeSion Cloud-Based platform for network monitoring; MTTplus Modular Test platform for Access, Business, Carrier Ethernet, Transport and Core services; and OPX-BOX+ for Fiber Optics.
LRTV Custom TV
VeEX: Live From BCE 2016

7|25|16   |   03:20   |   (0) comments

VeEX's Senior Director of Business Development, Perry Romano, explains how VeEX provides tools to help install, maintain, monitor and manage network infrastructure efficiently and effectively. The portfolio of products on display include the RXT-6000, MTTplus and TX300s.
LRTV Custom TV
Real-Time Telemetry & Analytics for Intelligent SDN Orchestration

7|25|16   |   03:09   |   (0) comments

Packet Design CEO Scott Sherwood discusses how real-time network telemetry and analytics are enabling a new breed of SDN orchestration applications.
From the Founder
The Russo Report: Driving Disruption

7|25|16   |   07:44   |   (2) comments

In the first episode of a four-part series, Light Reading Founder and CEO Steve Saunders and Calix President and CEO Carl Russo drive around town discussing the disruptive mega-changes in the communications industry and where hope lies for service providers to meet the escalating demands of the cloud.
LRTV Custom TV
NetScout: Maximizing Enterprise Cloud for Digital Transformation

7|20|16   |   04:53   |   (0) comments

Light Reading Editor Mitch Wagner talks to NetScout CMO Jim McNiel about maximizing the benefits of enterprise cloud and digital transformation while minimizing potential pitfalls with a proper monitoring and instrumentation strategy.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Ciena's VP Offers a Career Crash Course

7|20|16   |   4:14   |   (2) comments

How did Ciena's Vice President of Sales, Angela Finn, carve out her career path? Simple, she tells WiC. She stayed true to her company, customers and principles. She shares her advice for women on how to be authentic and credible, as well as for companies that want to make a real change to their culture and practices.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Hot Topics
Google Fiber Can't Be Called a Failure
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 8/26/2016
FirstNet: A Billion-Dollar Boondoggle?
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 8/26/2016
WiCipedia: Should Men Be Included? & Olympians Face Discrimination
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 8/26/2016
How the Padres Hit an IoT Home Run
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 8/25/2016
Google Fiber Downsizing Not Confirmed
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 8/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Bridging the tech skills gap is a major challenge for service providers and suppliers alike today – and the challenge is two-fold when it comes to increasing the number of women in the comms space. Level 3 Communications has made it a priority to overcome both challenges by implementing several unique programs focused on building the right candidates from within – in addition to filling the funnel by supporting STEM and other education programs. During this radio show, you’ll learn about these programs from Mary Beth McGrath, SVP of Global Talent Management at Level 3, and the best ways to bridge your own skills gap so that you are motivated and equipped for change. Plus you’ll have the chance to ask Mary Beth your questions live on the air.