Big Cometa, Intel WiFi announcements

Yahoo News is reporting on upcoming Cometa and Intel announcements: they are reporting that Cometa closed the contract to set up Wi-Fi access for McDonalds and Borders.  The McDonalds deal is small in initial rollout - only 10 locations in NYC to start, then 300 in 3 cities - NYC, Chicago, and an unnamed California town (could it be Cometa's hometown of San Francisco?  Here's hoping!) but has tremendous potential, given the number of McDonalds across the US and around the world.  The Borders deal is a larger initial rollout, with 400 bookstores getting WiFi access.

The pricing is interesting too: The McDonalds service will be free for an hour if an extra value meal is purchased, then $3 per hour.

Expect more to come as Intel readies its PR mothership over the new Centrino release tomorrow.  Hilton, Mariott, Sheraton, Westin and W hotels will tout wireless access points in hundreds of hotels in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom and Germany, and SFO has already announced its new WiFi rollout. 

Can anyone say runaway train?  What a great day, because this is the tip of the WiFi iceberg - and all sorts of problems will crop up in these deployments, large and small - security, managability, maintenance, and operational costs needed to keep all of those network connections and wireless connections up and running.  Hint, hint, hint.  Don't forget the single largest cost in doing these kinds of widespread deployments - it is the cost of the putting someone in a truck to install/maintain/repair a system in the field.  At a minimum of $500 per truck roll, whoever can minimize engineer field time will win this race.  Stay tuned.