Wayport Rents at Hertz

Now when you pull up to the drive-thru to get your Big Mac, Wayport suggests you be in a car rented from Hertz.

Wayport’s Wi-Fi World hotspot service—the same service being installed in some 8000 McDonald’s restaurant locations in the United States—has a new venue. 50 Hertz airport locations in the US will also be outfitted with Wi-Fi service for anyone picking up or dropping off a rental vehicle.

What’s more, if you rent a Hertz car with the NeverLost GPS navigation system, you can use it to get instant directions to the nearest hotspot powered by Wayport.

The Wi-Fi service, for use while waiting to pick up your car and then after dropping it off and catching the next bus to the terminal, won’t be free — but pricing is yet to be determined, according to Dan Lowden, the vice president of business development and marketing for Wayport.

The service, as part of Wi-Fi World, will also be available to other providers that want to buy into offering access at the venues as part of their package.

For example, SBC—the only announced Wi-Fi World partner to date—will allow all of its FreedomLink customers to get wireless access at McDonald’s without any extra charges. SBC can do the same with the Hertz locations, but would have to pay more to Wayport (again, at a price to be determined).

“On average, partners pay $32 flat per venue (for McDonalds),” says Lowden, “but Hertz would be different. We need to work that through.”

He says other partners are “getting close” to signing, as are other potential venues.

Wayport installs broadband at all the locations, usually DSL lines, and for McDonald’s, the company at least puts in a network management server with one or two access points. This can be used as the basis for more than just public access—in fact, McDonald’s locations use the service for cashless (credit card) payments, going live soon in most locations. The company provides other services to its lodging customers as well.

The 50 Hertz locations won’t go live until the first quarter of 2005. 1,600 McDonald’s are now deployed, and the company is installing as many as 50 new locations per week. Wayport has a total of 4,700 locations now live, up from only 800 a year ago. According to Lowden, “things are really ramping up.”

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