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A Big Mac, Large Fries, Coke and BT OpenZone please..
Thursday 08 January 2004 12:40:00 by Sebastien Lahtinen

BT have announced plans to bring wireless broadband Internet access to more than 500 McDonald's restaurants around the UK over the next few months in a bid to expand its BT OpenZone service. This announcement comes just before the Wireless Broadband Week starting on January 26th where anyone can sign up to a week of free Internet access to BT OpenZone and other services that are taking part in the event.

The majority of the McDonald's sites will be in drive-thru restaurants, which BT say are popular with business travellers. These users are already used to seeing hotspots in airports, railway stations and hotels.

"This deal with McDonald's again confirms BT's position as the UK's leading provider of public Wi-Fi. And the scale of BT's network means that wireless broadband is growing from a premium offering for the few into something that will become part of everyone's lives, whether that's for work, or for simply surfing the web or emailing friends as a pay-as-you-go customer.

We already have a vast network of BT Openzone access points at key locations for road warriors and these at McDonald's will help to boost that network. These sites will also help to provide easily accessible locations where the large number of people who haven't yet tried Wi-Fi can log on for free and try before they buy during Wireless Broadband Week this month."

Steve Andrews (Managing Director), BT Products and Enterprises

Anyone wanting to try the service will find it available at The Strand, Oxford Street and Liverpool Street Station in London.

McDonalds has already introduced similar services in 400 restaurants in New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Philadephia in the United States suggesting this is more than a mere trial run.

Whether you really want to be surfing the net when having lunch in a busy McDonalds is not something we're quite convinced about, but it can become a useful tool for users who want to quickly check their e-mail if they are waiting for something important, or checking the train times online. We'll be trying it out :) [seb]

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