Cheap airline pioneer plans huge cybercafe chain

Far bigger and cheaper than the existing ones, and mightn't AOL be implicated?

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, the owner of the no-frills, Luton-based budget airline Easyjet, is investing £10 million in cybercafes. The first will be in Victoria, London and should open on 21 June, with 420 workstations. SH-I says that with large establishments, access charges can be as low as £1 an hour because of economies of scale. Access costs in existing cafes are typically £5 to £7 an hour, and they tend to have only up to about 20 machines. An easyEverything Internet shop will also be opened in Amsterdam later this year, with 500 workstations. Tenders are at present being invited. The intention is to attract those who do not at present use the Internet, and to offer them 24-hours-a-day electronic shopping. David Phillips, AOL's UK MD, hinted this week that AOL will be involved with Internet access shops, and suggested people "stay tuned". It seems possible that AOL will be linked to the EasyGroup venture. If this turns out to be true, remember you read it first in The Register. ®

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