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Hotel to wire every room

Silicon Valley's San Jose Airport Hyatt is installing PCs and high-speed Internet access in all 474 rooms.

The San Jose Airport Hyatt rolled out the red carpet yesterday for its latest guest: the Internet.

The Hyatt and hotel Internet access provider Fourth Communications Network are installing high-speed Internet access in all 474 rooms, in a project that Fourth Network CEO Scott Lewis said will make the place "the most technically advanced hotel in the world."

Many hotels already offer Internet access. But officials claim the Airport Hyatt will be the world's first hotel to wire every single room with Internet access and an array of other electronic services.

Designed specifically for the business traveler, Airport Hyatt rooms have a personal computer equipped with a Pentium Processor and CD-ROM capability, a fax-modem-printer, and a speedy T1 connection to the Internet. A LAN-based intranet provides access to tools such as Microsoft Word and Excel.

Guests can even call down to the front desk to order color print outs. The hotel promises to deliver them via room service within ten minutes.

Approximately 100 rooms are currently outfitted with PCs and Internet connections. The remainder will be wired within the next six weeks, according to Hyatt officials.

"San Jose is a city where people come to work," Manou Mobedshahi, president of the Mobedshahi Hotel Group, told about 100 city and corporate officials, who were on hand yesterday for the official launch and demonstration. The San Jose Airport Hyatt is one of three Hyatt franchises owned by the group.

"People don't come to San Jose for pleasure. They need their office in their room," said Mobedshahi, who described Internet access as more than just a novelty.

"A hotel room without these tools will soon be considered like a room without a television or a phone," he said.

San Jose Mayor Susan Hammer conceded that she does not use the Internet but agreed that the Internet hotel was an appropriate venture for her city, which she described as "the capitol of Silicon Valley."

Mobedshahi said his company had a multimillion-dollar investment in the project. Fourth Network's Harmon estimated that the cost of wiring the hotel and outfitting each room with the necessary hardware runs between $2000 and $3000, or approximately $1 to 1.5 million for the entire hotel.

"It's a long-term investment over the life of the hotel," conceded Lewis. "That's why a strategic partnership makes sense."

Fourth Network and Mobedshahi Hotel Group have entered a ten-year partnership and Mobedshahi is picking up more than half of the cost of the project, according to Harmon.

Officials for both companies expect to earn the money back from guests, who may use the Internet services on a pay-as-you-go basis. After a $5 per day access fee, guests are charged 20 cents per minute, or $12 per hour for their time online. Guests who plug their own laptop computers into the hotel's T1 line will be charged the same rate.