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Last Updated:  Friday, 7 March, 2003, 14:23 GMT
Wireless net offered with a pint
Students gathered in a bar
No escaping work in the pub with wireless network
People will soon be able to surf the internet from the comfort of their local pub as wireless hotspots reach out to the country's favourite location.

There are already around 200 so-called wireless hotspots in cafes, hotel and service stations across the UK.

In July, this network will extend to 3,000 pubs in the UK.

The network - known as the Cloud - is the result of a partnership between Intel, Wi-Fi provider Ericsson and broadband entertainment firm Inspired Broadcast Networks.

"Pubs are already the business lunch venue of choice in many parts of the country and this will allow us to offer services that may well attract additional customers and keep customers in our venues longer," said John Appleton, Director of Six Continents Retail, one of the pub chains involved in the project.

Cloudy broadband

As well as using the network during the day for business reasons, it could be used on a more informal basis in the evening noted Russell Hoyle, Chief Executive Officer of Leisure Link, another partner in the scheme.

"As the pub fills up in the evening, wi-Fi can also be used to link people up to gaming and entertainment services," he said.

As well as the 200 public access wireless hotspots in the UK, there are also several community schemes offering homes outside of fixed broadband access reach a chance to get fast net services.

The Cloud will be open for any service provider to offer wireless broadband and could also be used by mobile operators to complement their 3G networks.

BT Openzone, the telephone company's wireless division, will offer the network in 1,300 of the pubs. It has one of the largest wireless networks in the UK with around 70 public hotspots currently up and running.

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