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Online from anywhere / Public Internet access kiosks offer travelers on-the- road surfing
(Springfield Journal-Register; 06/28/98)

Although they were still scarce only a year ago, public Internet access kiosks -
  the "coin phones" of the Internet - are popping up across the country in 
 airports, hotel guest and meeting rooms and places where people are on the 

 Some travelers are having their first log-on experience with the Net while they 
 wait for their flights in airports.

 As the numbers of wall and desktop Internet units proliferate at meeting 
 locations, many who carry laptop computers primarily for e-mail messaging are 
 beginning to leave the extra piece of baggage at home. Makers predict that by 
 the end of this year, kiosks and desktop units will be as common as ATM 
 machines in places where people are on the move. Today's "booths," which come 
 in wall and desk models, allow Net access with the mere swipe of a credit card, 
 prepaid access or Smart Card. Usage usually costs $3 to $4 for the first 15 
 minutes and $2 to $3 for each additional 15 minutes. Vendors install and 
 maintain the units. Host sites like hotels receive a portion of revenues the 
 kiosks generate. The basic Internet public access terminal is a free-standing 
 unit that is equipped with a mouse, keyboard and built-in plastic card readers. 
 Some offer separate modem ports or electrical outlets so people traveling with 
 laptops can plug in and log on to their corporate networks. For most Net users, 
 the kiosk access is faster than the unit they carry. Because each booth is 
 equipped with digital network (ISDN) or T-1 Internet connection, access is up 
 to 100 times the speed of a dial-up connect. It was in 1995 that Neil Senturia, 
 chief executive officer of Atcom/Info in San Diego, dreamed up what he called 
 the Internet equivalent to the pay phone. Since then, his company has forged 
 partnerships with GTE, US West, Pacific Bell, Sprint and others to install over 
 200 of its patented Cyberbooths across the country in meeting sites, airports 
 and convention centers.

 At the Claremont Resort in Berkeley, Calif., Senturia's company has placed 50 
 Net access terminals in guest rooms. Candace Taylor, director of marketing, 
 said the units are very popular.

 "We did a lot of market research," said Taylor, "with leisure and business 
 travelers to see what they wanted in the way of amenities for the future. It 
 all came down to technology for business guests. And Net access was a part of 
 their preferences. We are still learning what people are using the terminals 
 for the most. Some of them just surf the Web in their rooms because it's fast 
 and fun," she said. Another early innovator in the kiosk industry was 
 CyberFlyer Technologies, LLC in Denver. Julie Jacobs, president of CyberFlyer, 
 said both people who carry laptops and those who don't are using her company's 
 kiosks in the Norfolk, Va., International Airport.

 "While people are online, the services they use most are e-mail, airport 
 information, real time FAA flight information, travel-related information like 
 weather reports and online reservations," said Jacobs. CyberFlyer is installing 
 terminals at several Host Marriott airport cafes and highway travel plazas this 

 But airports and hotels aren't the only places you can find the kiosks. A 
 Toronto manufacturer of the kiosks has placed them in 200 truck stops 
 throughout the United States. And Kinko's has added Net access devices to its 
 chain of nearly 900 U.S. and Canadian copy centers. As thirst for accessing the 
 Net increases, more vendors are entering the arena to provide it in public 
 places. And the early innovators are looking for other ways to offer access in 
 new forms.

 King Products of Toronto and New World Telephone of Hong Kong are experimenting 
 in the territory's airport with new forms of the Internet kiosks that take 
 coins. These multimedia devices also have voice and fax capabilities.

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