McDonald's Announces Largest Wi-Fi Launch to Date

CHICAGO, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- McDonald's today announced the launch of high-speed wireless Internet access for customers in an anticipated 100 restaurants throughout the Chicagoland and Milwaukee areas, with more than 60 of those restaurants offering wireless services immediately. Additional locations will be completed by the end of September.

McDonald's is the first quick service restaurant to offer customers high-speed wireless access in three major markets -- Chicago, New York and the San Francisco Bay area. In Chicago, McDonald's is working with Toshiba's Computer Systems Group and Intel Corporation to provide the service.

The restaurants chosen for the Chicago pilot program are in a variety of different communities, including 12 locations in Chicago, 44 locations in Chicago suburbs, plus 5 Milwaukee area locations.

"This is a high-tech blend of innovation and convenience that will tell our customers McDonald's is going to be a part of their world," said Phil Gray, McDonald's central division vice president. "We are literally connecting to the relevancy and immediacy of today's busy American way of life."

Toshiba's SurfHere high-speed wireless Internet access service is the key piece of the Chicago area McDonald's wireless program. The SurfHere by Toshiba service allows those with notebook computers and other wireless-enabled devices to connect to the Internet without cables or wires at participating McDonald's. With this wireless technology, business professionals, road warriors, students, tourists, and busy parents can stay in contact and handle business and other communication needs during breakfast, lunch or throughout the day.

"As the nation continues to go mobile, public demand for wireless access points is experiencing phenomenal growth. Our agreement with McDonald's represents an essential element in building the Toshiba SurfHere foundation and in planning Toshiba's top quality wireless Internet access for future success and industry leadership," said John Marston, director of business development, Toshiba CSG. "We are extremely excited with this opportunity to demonstrate Toshiba's SurfHere service now benefiting McDonald's customers who find it necessary to stay connected and productive while out of their home or office."

McDonald's, Toshiba and Intel Corporation, respective industry leaders in the QSR, computing and networking technology markets have plans to promote the Chicago pilot through a marketing agreement. Additionally, Intel has conducted engineering testing or "verification" of Intel(R) Centrino(TM) mobile technology with Toshiba's wireless network.

"Intel's Centrino mobile technology for notebook computers combined with Toshiba's Wi-Fi service enables today's mobile user to take advantage of high-speed Internet access when they are on the go, keeping them connected with the office, family and friends," said Kurt Sehnert, Director of Infrastructure Programs, Intel Mobile Platforms Group. "We are excited to work with McDonald's and Toshiba in delivering the next generation wireless computing experience."

Intel Corporation and McDonald's have partnered throughout the entire Wi-Fi launch in New York, San Francisco and Chicago.

Beginning today, through September 28, customers are offered free one-hour access with the purchase of an extra value meal or a premium salad. Prize giveaways such as Toshiba notebook computers and Pocket PCs will also be part of an on-line promotion. Prices throughout Chicago and Milwaukee for the wireless services are $4.95 for a one-hour connection and $7.95 for up to 24 hours. At McDonald's, 7- and 30-day connection plans are also available.

More information about the service and a complete list of McDonald's wireless restaurants can be found at www.mcdwireless.com .

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