Tuesday, July 03, 2007

AT&T Hotspots Free for AT&T Broadband Users

wi-fiplanet.com | AT&T Hotspots Free for AT&T Broadband Users | By Eric Griffith | July 3, 2007

AT&T (Quote)is offering its cable broadband customers free Wi-Fi at its 10,000 hotspot locations. They used to charge $1.99 a month for the privilege.

Those without AT&T broadband at home pay $8 a day or $20 a month for access at the company’s hotspots. This also doesn't count for AT&T DSL subscribers.

AT&T WiFi operates the hotspots that used to be run by SBC under the FreedomLink brand. They also piggy-back on the Wayport network run at over 8,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States.

Qualifying AT&T customers include those with AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Pro or High Speed Internet Elite services, or FastAccess Xtreme and FastAccess Xtreme 6.0.

The company is also selling an AT&T branded wireless router/gateway to hook up to its broadband offerings; it claims to already be shipping 7,000 of these gateways per day. It’s free after a rebate if purchased in a store, or will be an instant credit with any of the AT&T broadband service when ordered online.

AT&T says it has 12.9 million broadband lines in service as of the beginning of 2007. The company also is the provider of voice and data service for the much-hyped Apple iPhone, which also has built in Wi-Fi – but iPhone customers don’t get free access to the AT&T hotspots. They’ll have to pay $8 a day like everyone else.

The iPhone’s mobile data service is based on EDGE technology, which lacks the speed of 3G technology like EV-DO. So far, there isn’t any cross-over for the iPhone user in AT&T’s voice and Wi-Fi divisions.

When asked about before the iPhone launch about concerns that the EDGE network would be too slow, Apple CEO Steve Jobs told the Wall Street Journal, “There's often times a Wi-Fi network that you can join whether you're sitting in a coffee shop or even walking along the street piggybacking on somebody's home Wi-Fi network. What we found is the combination is working really well.” However, the use of Wi-Fi without permission – even on a free, open network -- has been landing people in hot water of late, some coming close to jail time.

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