Qwest Gives Gift of Wi-Fi to Broadband Customers

Qwest is taking advantage of a new partnership with AT&T to offer complimentary Wi-Fi services to all of its broadband Internet customers.

Any Qwest customer who subscribes to Qwest High-Speed Internet will gain free access to 17,000 of AT&T's Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the United States. Qwest says it decided to make a deal with AT&T after it commissioned a study from Impulse Research Corporation finding that "nearly half of all respondents valued Wi-Fi because it provided them with the freedom and flexibility to stay connected beyond the office or home." Dan Yost, who serves as the executive vice president for Qwest's Mass Markets Organization, says that the study also found that nearly half of the users surveyed said they felt "antsy" if they did not have hourly access to email.

AT&T started aggressively expanding its Wi-Fi footprint last year when it began deploying its Wi-Fi services to 7,000 Starbucks locations nationwide. AT&T also broadened the scope of its Wi-Fi business last year by purchasing Wayport, a network and applications management company that provides back-office management for Wi-Fi hot spots. In total, the Wayport acquisition and the Starbucks deal helped the company branched out its Wi-Fi footprint to roughly 20,000 locations in the United States and more than 80,000 locations around the world.

Additionally, AT&T says that its users connected to its Wi-Fi hot spots 10.5 million times in the first quarter of 2009, more than triple the number of times its users connected to Wi-Fi hot spots in Q1 2008. AT&T attributes the large increase in demand to two factors: the proliferation of Wi-Fi capable devices and the expansion of the company's Wi-Fi footprint.

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