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Wireless LAN goes public

Rules relaxed to allow businesses to offer customers cable-free surfing

It shouldn't be long before you will be able to surf the net while you sip your café latte at a swanky cafe, as recent regulation changes have opened up the possibility for Wireless LANs to be installed in commercial premises.

E-Commerce minister, Stephen Timms, has announced that the government will allow the 2.4GHz part of the radio spectrum to be used for commercial telecos services, without the need for the previously required Wireless Telephony Act licence.

The proposed changes are due to come into effect on 31 July and will mean that Wireless LANs can be operated on a commercial basis for public use, allowing operators to offer wireless broadband services to customers in places like motorway service stations, airports and coffee shops.

Timms said he hoped that by relaxing the requirements the government would "provide opportunities for telecoms operators to deliver new and innovative services for the public."

A spokesperson for BT said the company "welcomed the announcement". BT plans to roll out such services to around 4,000 locations by summer 2005.

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