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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 May, 2003, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
Wireless helps cut net costs
Row of terraced houses, BBC
Now neighbours can surf the web using your connection
Soon you will be able to share the cost of your fast net link using wireless technology.

A company called MyZones is encouraging customers to use wi-fi links to let themselves and any neighbours within range get online via a single net link.

The company will also provide basic tools to ensure that only the people paying for the link get access.

The company says the attractions of broadband for many are outweighed by the relatively high cost.

Home network

"What we are doing is turning the customer into the internet service provider," said Clive Mayhew-Begg, Chief Executive of MyZones.

Before now many net service firms have refused to provide advice and support to people who set up and run home networks for themselves and neighbours to share fast net links.

Ethernet cable and connector, Eyewire
Throw out your cables, go wireless
Mr Mayhew-Begg said that by signing up with MyZones, customers would get improved security and tools to help them manage all the machines on the wireless network connecting them to broadband.

At the end of every month, subscribers will get sent statistics showing which machines have been used to download the most data.

But, said, Mr Mayhew-Begg, MyZones is not supplying any software that helps people work out charges.

"If they want to charge their neighbours, it is up to them," he said.

Package plan

Customers can sign up for a package that includes broadband access from BT plus a wireless access point and basic software.

Or people who have both broadband and a wi-fi network can sign up for a lower cost service provided their equipment meets the MyZone specifications.

Pint of lager, BBC
Some pubs offer both beer and broadband
Both packages allow the person overseeing the running of the network to control who gets access.

Mr Mayhew-Begg said it was not providing any software to help divide the bandwidth available via the broadband link equally between all those that want to use it.

The MyZones service could prove a boon to people living just beyond the range of broadband being piped through their local telephone exchange.

With the help of a neighbour inside the broadband catchment zone who installs a wi-fi access point, people who would otherwise be denied fast net access might be able to get it.

The service is unveiled this week and will be switched on in June.

Companies such as Boingo and Sputnik already offer similar deals that let customers share access to cut costs.

MyZones also plans to give subscribers vouchers that can be used at public wi-fi hotspots which it hopes will drive use of the technology at these locations.

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