The young Austrian company metronet, which is operating the fourth largest public W-LAN network in the world, is setting a further globally unique milestone in mobile computing: The provider expands its wireless Internet access services at broadband speed via W-LAN at public places all over Austria by offering wireless Internet access at broadband speed for domestic use and/or small offices. The new product called metronet.home is a combination of mobile W-LAN Internet access at currently 180 public places in Austria and convenient wireless access via ADSL at home.
"Metronet.home fills a gap in the market that up to now neither telecommunications nor Internet providers have been able to cover entirely," says Mike McGinn, CEO of metronet. The price amounting to EURO 39 per month includes not only access to the Internet while away, but also the integration of several W-LAN compatible terminals (e.g. 3 notebooks and 2 PDAs) and four additional stationary terminals (e.g. 1 printer and 3 PCs) at home. metronet provides the client with an access via ADSL (costs thereof amounting to EURO 130) and a wireless router. In addition, metronet.home includes a traffic volume of 1 GB for domestic use (each MB exceeding this volume will be charged at 6 cent), 50 MB of web space, 10 email addresses, and 50 alias addresses. If an access via ADSL does already exist, switching over to metronet.home (for EURO 43.53) is quick and easy.
Together with the launch of metronet.home, metronet cuts down its charges for only using the public W-LAN network to EURO 18 per month for metronet.business (30 cent/MB) and EURO 12 for metronet.surfer (60 cent/MB). The charges for metronet.student remain unchanged at EURO 6 (30 cent/MB).
Up to now, users needed at least two providers for broadband data transfer while away and at home: one provider for the access to the Internet via ADSL at home, sometimes allowing the integration of W-LAN compatible terminals, and one provider for wireless data transfer via GPRS while away, but at a speed of up to 60 times slower. About 85% of all Austrian households may use metronet.home because they are located in areas covered by ADSL. McGinn: "metronet.home is a bargain for those modern Austrian households that dispose of more than one PC, or want to use a PC and in addition a notebook in order to have wireless access at home and while away and to able to send emails, surf the Internet, and to telework at broadband speed without any problems." metronet.home is an attractive solution for small businesses and home offices, too.
metronet wants more
By the end of this year metronet wants to dispose of more than 200 operational hot spots in Austria. The setting up is being focused on urban centers in Vienna, Graz, Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Klagenfurt, as well as rural locations, such as seminar hotels where there is a great demand for mobile data transmission.
Wireless Internet service at broadband speed is already available at 180 hot spots - among these are the airports of Linz, Salzburg, Klagenfurt, and Graz, as well as 34 hotels (21 thereof are ACCOR hotels) offering about 10,000 m2 of conference room. A current list of hot spots is ready to be called up on the companies homepage. Negotiations on roaming issues with other W-LAN providers in Europe and the US are under way.
The W-LAN technology used (standard 802.11b) allows for ranges of up to 50 meters inside buildings and of up to 500 meters outside. Data transfer takes place at broadband speed, and up to sixty times faster than via GPRS and up to 30 times faster than via future UMTS.
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