@Home also will take a minority stake in 4th Network and rights to participate on 4th Network's board. Under the plan, @Home, through its @Work division, will begin providing the service this quarter with a nationwide rollout planned for the first half of next year.
@Work has been making slow but steady progress in tapping the work-related market for high-speed Net access. The privately held 4th Network, more than five years old, has faced stiff competition in a promising niche business. It has struck deals to provide Net access to hotels including Hilton, Hyatt, Marriott, Radisson, Sheraton, and Westin.
@Work will provide network infrastructure, connectivity, and management. 4th Network will secure contracts with the hotels and offer PC in-room services. @Work said the service will rely on telephone lines and be similar to a business local area network.
Service now is being provided in the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco and in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Redondo Beach, California. Later this month, service will be offered in the lobby and rooms of the Hyatt at the San Jose International Airport.