RealTime IT News

easyJet Founder Opens Largest Internet Cafe

Stelios Haji-Ioannou, founder of the discount airline easyJet, Monday opened the world's largest Internet cafe, named easyEverything, opposite London's Victoria Station.

The cafe, with 400 computer terminals within 10,000 square feet, is the first of a chain of five planned for central London.

Apart from its size, the new cafe differs from the many other venues for surfing the Internet in several respects. It is open 24 hours a day, provides tutors for the uninitiated, and, in an introductory offer, lets users surf for just £1 ($1.60) an hour.

Suppliers to the new venue include Hewlett-Packard for both hardware and software, PSINet for the 8Mb Internet connection, and Cafe Nescafe, an affiliate company of Nestle, for coffee and snacks.

"easyEverything, with the help of PSINet, will offer the fastest public access speeds in the world," said Stelios Haji-Ioannou. "As research shows, Internet shopping will be the key driver in drawing people into the cafes, so to be able to shop fast on the Internet, will be a very potent combination for success."

"I've learned from the airline that everyone likes a bargain and the Internet can provide massive savings on goods and services compared with the overpriced high street."

Explaining some of the rationale behind the venture, marketing director Tony Anderson said that the new chain of cafes would appeal to the 85 percent of the public who did not have Internet access.

"We expect to attract around 6,000 people per day," he said. Stelios Haji-Ioannou suggested that using the new venues would, for many people, be preferable to owning a computer.

"By the time you've bought a PC, provided you can work out how to set it up, you'll end up paying north of £1,000 a year to run it and you'll probably throw it away within two years because it will be obsolescent."