People visiting the Edinburgh Fringe festival this year to sample the latest theatrical, musical and comedy performances are being offered an added bonus -- free wireless Internet access.
Semiconductor maker Intel has set up a stand at Princes Street Gardens in the centre of Edinburgh where it is letting festival-goers sample laptops built around its Centrino chip, as part of its drive to promote wireless networking.
A Wi-Fi hot spot has been installed at this "Unwired" mobile experience zone, based on 3Com hardware and branded a "Broadreach ReadytoSurf" site. It will provide free wireless connectivity to anyone in the vicinity with an 802.11b-compatible device, until 24 August.
"We see a strong future for public Internet access, and Wi-Fi is one of the technologies that will play a key role as we roll out our services to locations across the country," said Magnus McEwen-King, chief executive of Broadreach, in a statement.
A recent survey found that only 29 percent of people actually know what a Wi-Fi hot spot is, so this initiative could help to boost awareness among the hundreds of thousands of festival visitors.
According to Intel, there will be at least 2,000 public Wi-Fi hot spots in the UK by the end of 2003. A survey by Gartner published on Wednesday placed the figure even higher, at 4,100.