Wi-Fi-ing Down By The Bay

San Francisco Bay Area start-up WiFi Metro, Inc. today announced the official launch of its 802.11-based wireless network. The network currently consists of over 40 locations, or hotspots, where subscribers with Wi-Fi-enabled laptops and PDAs can tap into the data stream.

WiFi Metro, Inc. is being incubated by VC firm ComVentures and relies on hereUare Communications’ eCoinBox technology for its back-end network management and database functionality. hereUare is simultaneously developing roaming solutions across other W-ISP’s networks to create the kind of seamless experience users are demanding. Such access is rapidly becoming available through hereUare’s growing list of what it calls “JumpStart” locations – a list of which can be obtained from the hereUare Web site and by using their Global Locator software to automatically search out locations.

WiFi Metro stated that with its current network of over 40 locations, it is one of the largest W-ISPs in the U.S. It has plans underway to roll-out 50 more hotspots nationwide, which are slated for deployment at the end of the year.

WiFi Metro’s subscription plan, which has no contract or activation fee, is available at an introductory price of $19.95 per month for unlimited access to any of its locations, including JumpStart locations. “It can’t get much cooler than going to a cafe, turning on your laptop, and accessing the Internet for less than $20 per month,” said Guy Kawasaki of Garage Technology Ventures.

WiFi Metro’s hotspots in the Bay area are located in cafes, restaurants, and hotels – a list is available at the company’s Web site. “We’re aggressively building a wireless network that provides users with convenient, high-speed Internet access to help them extend computing capabilities beyond the workplace,” said Arturo Pereyra, WiFi Metro’s General Manager. “Our hotspots are near strategic business corridors so business people can access the Internet wirelessly using their own laptop or PDA to email, download presentations, access corporate intranets, or send sales orders while on the road.”

Road warriors can sign up for the WiFi Metro service at the company’s Web site or by visiting a WiFi Metro location. A list of locations is available on the site.

Matthew Peretz is Managing Editor of 802.11-Planet.com

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