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Java and Java

Coffeehouses (and other public places) go wireless.

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This story appears in the May 2001 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Would you like some Microsoft with your double mocha? Or some corporate intranet while you're waiting for your flight? Broadband wireless networks are starting to invade unlikely locales across the United States. The biggest sign that wireless networks in public places are going mainstream is the recent deal among Starbucks, Microsoft and MobileStar to install wireless networks in the majority of Starbucks coffeehouses over the next few years.

Unlike the Internet cafes we're used to, customers will bring their own wireless-enabled laptops, mobile phones and handhelds to access local information and shop online at T1 speeds. Some services will be free; others will incur charges. Registered MobileStar customers will also have access to e-mail and corporate intranets. MobileStar service plans will likely start at around $15.95 per month.

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