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McDonald's targets iPass customers

The fast-food chain announces that it expects its hot-spot suppliers to support iPass' specification for business-class service.

McDonald's announced Monday that it expects its hot-spot suppliers to support iPass' specification for business-class service, as the fast-food chain looks to target the enterprise market.

McDonald's is in trials with hot-spot providers SurfHere, offered by Toshiba; Wayport; and Cometa Networks. It expects to narrow its list of suppliers by the first quarter of next year. Hot spots are public areas where resources, such as broadband Internet access, are available through wireless networks using Wi-Fi standards.

As part of that process, the fast-food chain expects suppliers to be certified by iPass' Enterprise Ready service specification. SurfHere and Wayport are already certified and Cometa is currently being tested, according to iPass director of corporate communications John Sidline.

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Once an operator is certified, its network is added to iPass' Global Broadband Roaming footprint, which targets businesses and their information technology departments with secure connections.

"As we consolidate our Wi-Fi plans in the U.S., our global initiative will likely involve many Wi-Fi operators across our worldwide operations," Mark Jamison, senior director of business development for McDonald's, said in a release. "We see iPass, and specifically the service uniformity and quality gained from their Enterprise Ready service an important part of our Wi-Fi program."

The move by McDonald's would allow its hot-spot service to be used by iPass' 400,000 monthly users, according to iPass. The Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company counts over 2,500 Wi-Fi hot spots and 1,000 Ethernet-enabled venues as part of its Global Broadband Roaming network.