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Telcoms Create New Broadband Company
Dec 2002
NEW YORK, Dec. 6 -- AT&T, Intel and IBM and global investment concerns Apax Partners and 3i announced yesterday they are collaborating to create a new company, Cometa Networks, to provide broadband, wholesale, wireless Internet access nationwide.

Cometa Networks will provide service to telecommunications companies, Internet service providers (ISPs), cable operators and wireless carriers, who then can offer their customers wireless Internet access, using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, also called 802.11. Cometa will also offer wireless Internet access to enterprise customers through the participating carriers.

The company will work with major national and regional retail chains, hotels, universities and real-estate firms to deploy the broadband wireless access service in metropolitan areas.

Cometa's service will make it possible for users to keep existing sign-on procedures, email addresses, IDs, passwords and payment methods -- regardless of whether they are accessing the Internet via an ISP, corporate virtual private network, telecommunications provider or cable operator.

Cometa Networks' 802.11 network access is targeted to begin in 2003 in the top 50 US urban markets. AT&T will provide network infrastructure and management, and IBM will provide wireless site installations and back-office systems.

Cometa Networks will have offices in San Francisco and New York. The initial board will consist of Lawrence B. Brilliant, Cometa's CEO; Ted Schell, general partner of Apax Partners; and Robin Murray, general partner at 3i. Financial details were not disclosed.

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