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Speed surfing with fast food

Burger King brings the Net to customers at a New York restaurant with high-speed access to go with "super-size value meals."

If you like to surf the Net while eating your burger and fries, then you can "have it your way"--as long as you're willing to eat a lot of fast food.

Burger King today announced it has put its first Internet-enabled restaurant online. Twenty Net stations and a high-speed T1 line have been set up at the restaurant, located in New York's financial district.

There is a minimum purchase to get Net access--but it is in flux at the moment, according to franchisee Peter Allen Abramson.

For the next few days, customer can access the Net just by buying a "value meal," which includes a Whopper burger, fries, and a drink, though there are varying sizes for each, beginning at $3, Abramson said. There are also breakfast value meals, starting at $2.19.

But in the next few days, the stakes will go up: Abramson said the restaurant will require customers to "super size" their meal--that is, upgrade the size of their food and drinks--to get Net access. Customers have a 20-minute time limit online.

One thing customers won't be doing on their lunch hours is surfing for porn, however. The restaurant's computers are equipped with CyberPatrol filtering technology to keep surfers off "inappropriate" sites, Abramson said.

He noted that although the restaurant's location draws mostly adults, children with families of tourists often come in as well.

"We see a lot of tourists reading their hometown newspapers [online]," said Abramson, who was an engineer before becoming a Burger King franchisee 22 years ago.

"I have an engineer's mind," he said. "But I'm also a business man, and I have a creative bent. I want to do something a little different--I'm always looking to stay ahead."

Abramson said he does not plan to add Net access to his two other New York locations--one in the sketchy Port Authority area on the west side of Manhattan and the other in the Bronx--but he is looking to develop other Manhattan locations where he will implement Net access.