Would you like broadband with that?

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Telstra will activate wireless hotspots in 44 MacDonald's outlets across Australia, offering users wireless broadband access starting today.

MacDonald's managing director Guy Russo said that the new technology would enable customers to work online using their own laptop or PDAs at McDonald's restaurants.

“We're delighted to work with McDonald's,” said Telstra chief of products, Lydia O'Grady, “to provide Australians with the latest in wireless communications enabling them to significantly improve their productivity or simply log on…”

The partnership between the two companies, according to Telstra, will eventually give wireless broadband access to customers at approximately 500 'premium' locations Australia-wide in 12 to 18 months.

PC Authority asked Personal Broadband Australia if having so many wireless locations in Sydney would challenge its new long-range wireless technology iBurst.

But iBurst supplier Personal Broadband Australia's marketing director John Filmer doesn't think so.

“As far as hotspots are concerned, 802.11 is fine,” said Filmer, “it has its place”.

Filmer said that initiatives such as offering wireless access in MacDonald's creates public awareness about wireless technology.

“The more the merrier,” he said.

And if you are worried that your favourite fast food chain will be turned into an internet café, a McDonald's spokesperson assured, “this won't change the way we run things at the moment.”

Rival fast food chain Hungry Jack's said it had no comment.

Telstra wireless hotspots in MacDonald's restaurants outlets are available to all Telstra mobile customers (excluding pre-paid) and to customers with an approved credit card.

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