RealTime IT News

Cometa Networks Taps Weis For CEO

Wireless ISP Cometa Networks Tuesday named Gary Weis as its president, CEO and director, replacing co-founder and interim CEO Larry Brilliant.

The San Francisco-based company is a partnership between IBM , AT&T , Intel and global investment concerns Apax Partners and 3i.

Weis is no stranger to the companies or major ISP launches. He recently retired as Senior Vice President, Global Services at AT&T, and previously held senior executive positions within IBM and in separate IBM and AT&T joint ventures. While at AT&T, Weis was also CEO of Concert, the joint venture between AT&T and British Telecom .

Brilliant is expected to continue with the company as Vice Chairman of the Board, chair of the Cometa's technical advisory board, and as a strategic advisor.

"We are very fortunate to have the deep industry operating experience of Gary Weis to lead Cometa into this exciting and high-growth phase," said Cometa co-founder and chairman of the Board Theodore Schell. "As well, it is with great admiration that we thank Larry for his leadership in forming Cometa, and look forward to his continued and active guidance on the Board of Directors."

Cometa is the latest wireless ISP (WISP) to make a national play for mobile access subscribers.

Deutsche Telekom's T-Mobile, Verizon , Sprint , Earthlink and Sky Dayton's Boingo are also vying for carrier-grade, nationwide network of Internet access based on the 802.11 technology standard (also known as Wi-Fi) . Once signed up, the service can then be picked up at various wireless base stations or hotspots .

The Wi-Fi craze is in full swing, with current estimates pointing to some 78 million wireless consumers nationwide.

Cometa's strategy is to use its corporate know-how to work with major branded national and regional retail chains, hotels, universities and real estate firms in the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas. The company is off to a good start with its recent pilot launch with fast food giant McDonald's in New York City as well as a Global Broadband Roaming deal with Redwood Shores, Calif.-based iPass.

Analysts say the mere fact that Cometa has the power of IBM and AT&T in its camp combined with Intel's new Centrino push, will make Cometa a driving force in Wi-Fi and hotspots.

Earlier this year, Schell pledged to establish some 20,000 hotspots by 2004.