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Public WLAN access slips into St Albans

Eat, drink and surf

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People visiting bars and restaurants in St Albans, Herts, will be able to hook up to wireless Net access for free thanks to a deal with reseller Wialess.com and 3com. Two premises have the gear so far and another should be up and running soon.

The reasoning behind the scheme is simple enough; pubs offer premium TV and music services - so why not Net access as well?

The pubs and restaurants pay for the service, but if all goes well, then this charge is more than offset by increased number of people swinging by for a coffee, beer, meal, meeting etc.

In some cases you don't even need your own laptop since these are available to borrow for free.

Jonathan Shreeves, MD of Wialess.com said: "Our clients want to give their customers another reason to return more often or to stay a little longer each time.

"Just as restaurants and bars provide free amenities such as Sky television and board games to create atmosphere and persuade customers to stay for longer, free wireless Internet access will do the same."

Similar schemes could pop up around the country if it catches on. ®

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