Microsoft to help wire hotels

The technology giant is collaborating with Atcom/Info and CAIS Internet to deliver high-speed Net access to hotels.

Paul Festa Staff Writer, CNET News.com
Paul Festa
covers browser development and Web standards.
Paul Festa
Microsoft, Atcom/Info, and CGX Communications subsidiary CAIS Internet today announced plans to collaborate on offering high-speed Net access to hotels.

The company executives, meeting at a trade show in Beverly Hills, California, said that next month they would bring commercial trials of the access service to 15 U.S. hotels. It is designed for business travelers using notebook computers. The move is the latest effort to wire hotels with Net access, a potentially lucrative market because so many business travelers nowadays are wired.

A full rollout of the service is expected by the middle of the year.

The centerpiece of the high-speed access solution is Atcom/Info's product, developed with Microsoft Consulting Services, called Iport. Iport is software that lets users plug their laptops into Internet ports in public locations.

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to elaborate on the technology and said the company would do so when the trials are launched next month.

CAIS's technology, called Overvoice, will let hotels run Iport over existing phone lines. Hotel Net access technology provider Fourth Network Interactive Services will implement the Iport solution to some of its existing clients.