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McDonald's goes McWireless

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Proletarian fryhouse McDonald's has announced it will offer free Wi-Fi in its 1,200 UK burger outlets by the end of the year.

The move will make McDonald's the country's largest public hotspot provider, and pits it against Starbucks' pay-as-you-go T-Mobile service for high street internet supremacy.

It's all part of a company-wide drive upmarket and away from the traditional McDonald's experience: scary clowns, mechanically-recovered beef, and screaming infants.

Some sites already had Wi-Fi through an arrangement with BT Openzone, but access was not free. That partnership will continue, but with McDonald's footing the bill. As part of the expansion, it's also signed a second deal with The Cloud.

Some 8,000 of McDonald's 13,000 US chow sheds currently offer free connectivity.

The UK announcement comes days after BT's launch of BT FON, a Wi-Fi sharing initiative that it hopes will expand its coverage on the cheap. Up to two million Home Hub owners are being targeted and it'll open to other ISPs' customers around new year. ®

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