BT blends Costa and Wi-Fi in Openzone deal

Mellow Birds of a feather

BT has confirmed that Costa coffee has become the latest partner to sign up to its grand plan to bring mobile broadband to the nation.

Public wireless LAN sites, called BT Openzones, have been installed in five of Costa's coffee shops in the City of London as part of a nationwide roll-out of Wi-Fi.

BT now has 36 live sites across the UK including hotels, motorway services and shopping centres that provide Internet access for those on the move. Ten of those "Openzones" are at BT sites.

As well as Costa, a further 20 high street outfits and big brand names, including Lloyds TSB, Nationwide, John Lewis and Microsoft, are currently trialing BT's Wi-Fi sevice.

Details of the Costa deal were trailed in April when BT first announced its new mobile communications strategy, which the telco claims could be worth as much £500 million in the next five years.

Announcing its bid to create one of the UK's first public access WLAN, BT said that it was already talking to Costa Coffee concerning a possible deal.

The monster telco insists that it is on schedule to hit its target of 70 BT Openzones by the end of December.

By June next year it plans to have 400 "Openzones" dotted around the country, with a total of 4,000 by June 2005. ®

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