SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Intel Corp., the world's biggest computer-chip maker, and McDonald's Corp., the world's biggest restaurant chain, are teaming up to market wireless connectivity to the Internet in some McDonald's restaurants, the companies said on Tuesday.
The effort, starting with 10 McDonald's restaurants in Manhattan, is part of Intel's $300 million campaign to launch its Centrino line of products, designed for laptop computing and high-speed wireless access to the Internet.
As part of the program, for the next three months, McDonald's will give customers an hour of wireless Internet access in its restaurants with the purchase of a combination meal.
After that customers will have the option of paying $3 for another hour online or buying another meal.
High-speed wireless Internet access, or Wi-Fi, is spreading rapidly, with "hot spots" popping up in airports, hotels and coffee shops across the United States.
The Centrino technology includes a new processor that Intel designed for laptop computers, related chipsets and a Wi-Fi transceiver, which transmits data at speeds up to roughly 200 times faster than standard dial-up modem.
McDonald's will use an open network so customers do not have to set up an account to gain access. The fast food giant is trying to stem a slide in sales, experimenting with healthier menu options even as it tries to shore up demand for its hamburgers and french fries.
McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Illinois, said it will test high-speed wireless access in hundreds of restaurants in New York, Chicago and an unnamed major California market by the end of the year.
Cheers ~ Arne
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