SBC last week said it will deploy more than 20,000 Wi-Fi hot spots in 6,000 venues over the next three years.\n\u00a0\nThe carrier also said it is creating an integrated Wi-Fi and third-generation (3G) wireless service to deliver broadband wireless services to home, business and remote users.SBC last week said it will deploy more than 20,000 Wi-Fi hot spots in 6,000 venues over the next three years.\u00a0The carrier also said it is creating an integrated Wi-Fi and third-generation (3G) wireless service to deliver broadband wireless services to home, business and remote users.The new Wi-Fi service, to be called FreedomLink, will be available by the end of 2006 in more than 6,000 hotels, airports, convention centers and other venues throughout the SBC 13-state region, the carrier says. SBC plans to deploy more than 1,000 Wi-Fi hot spots in several hundred venues by year-end, more than 9,000 hot spots in 2,000 venues by the end of 2004, and more than 20,000 hot spots in 6,000 venues by the end of 2006. The company will continue deploying hot spots after 2006.The integrated Wi-Fi\/3G service is expected to be available in late 2004 or early 2005.In addition to establishing hot spots at primary venues, SBC said it also plans to provide a turnkey product that enables small businesses to become a hot spot to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. The businesses would then offer Wi-Fi access to their customers.Wi-Fi, or wireless fidelity, refers to any wireless LAN product that's based on the IEEE 802.11 WLAN standard with theoretical data rates ranging from 11M bit\/sec to 54M bit\/sec.To augment its Wi-Fi plan, SBC has reached a roaming agreement with Wayport, a leading Wi-Fi service provider. The roaming agreement will give SBC customers access to Wayport services in more than 650 locations nationwide, including 565 hotels, eight airports and 75 restaurants.To give subscribers access to additional hot spots, SBC says it will also pursue roaming agreements with other Wi-Fi service providers.Wayport is becoming the Wi-Fi roaming partner of choice for the RBOCs. As a component of its 1.544M bit\/sec wireless LAN service announced last week, Verizon Wireless said it is teaming with Wayport to offer customers up to 650 Wi-Fi access points at hotels, convention centers and airports across the U.S.Verizon plans to turn up 1,000 Wi-Fi hot spots in Manhattan by year-end. BellSouth offers a home networking service that utilizes Wi-Fi but has not announced a hot spot coverage plan as yet. Qwest, which this week announced an agreement to resell Sprint's PCS wireless service, also has not divulged a Wi-Fi plan; but observers believe it will merely resell Sprint PCS' Wi-Fi service, which is expected to be turned up next month.The FreedomLink service will initially be offered to customers on a transactional basis with a one-time fee for daily sessions. Shortly after the initial service launch, SBC will introduce a subscription service that will offer subscribers unlimited access for a monthly fee, with discounted pricing for customers who combine FreedomLink with other SBC services and packages, including SBC Yahoo! DSL and SBC Total Connections, which includes local, wireless, DSL and long-distance service.Final pricing will be announced when the service becomes available.