SkyNetGlobal has signed an exclusive global agreement with Rydges Hotels that will see 11 hotels linked to the broadband wireless company's network in Australia, New Zealand, London and Dubai.
The local developer said it is not looking at the agreement in fiscal terms, but as a leg-up to the international market and opportunities through associated hotel chains and corporations.
Michael Bourne, SkyNetGlobal's general manager for network partnerships, said SkyNetGlobal has been nurturing the relationship with Rydges for a while. Corporate customers have been appealing to Rydges for broadband services for some time. However, the lack of a clear global standard stalled the current project until the ratification of the 802.11b direct sequence by the IEEE industry standards association.
The ratification and industry acceptance of 802.11b by hardware manufacturers and software developers has been a growth catalyst for broadband wireless communication services aimed at business travellers.
Under the terms of the SkyNetGlobal agreement, Rydges will make a small commitment to the network infrastructure and will be subject to an ongoing revenue plan. Bourne said this provides an incentive for the customer to continue driving the solution after the install is complete.
To access the SkyNetGlobal service, a traveller with a laptop simply registers online as a user and completes a simple, free, one-off download before they travel. Wireless cards will be available from Rydges reception for a small fee. The user then simply inserts the wireless card, switches on the laptop, clicks on the SkyNetGlobal icon and they're connected.
Bourne said the service is currently being charged at 20 cents per minute. SkyNetGlobal has developed a proprietary billing system that automatically deducts the fee from the user's credit card, the details of which are given upon registration, and generates an itemised monthly bill.
SkyNetGlobal also has a roaming partnership with US-based network provider MobileStar, which enables users to roam straight onto MobileStar's network and vice versa throughout their travels.