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Internet

A Web without wires

Wireless Web access that let consumers surf the Net and send email is spreading its wings, for industry giant CAI Wireless files a petition with federal regulators to offer high-speed wireless access on a permanent basis.

Wireless Web access that let consumers surf the Net and send email "anytime and anywhere," is spreading its wings. Today, industry giant CAI Wireless filed a petition with federal regulators to offer high-speed wireless access on a permanent, as opposed to a trial, basis.

CAI's filing with the Federal Communications Commission seeks permanent, unrestricted authority for commercial deployment of these interactive services, this time in Hartford, Connecticut. The others were only for market trials, in cities such as Rochester, New York, for example.

CAI hopes to offer a commercial service as early as next January.

"CAI will create a digital platform from which reasonably priced video, voice, and data services can be launched," said John Prisco, chief operating officer of CAI. Both Bell Atlantic and Nynex have rights to buy up to 45 percent of CAI, analysts noted.

Telcos such as Ameritech also are jumping into the wireless Net access market. A group including American Telecasting and Zenith Electronics also are testing a wireless system in Lakeland, Florida. The companies hope to offer that service in early 1977 as well.

Another company called Metricom also offers a wireless service to surf the Internet in the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and by year's end, Washington D.C. Unlike CAI, Metricom works in an unlicensed spectrum.