Hyatt to Take In-Room Broadband Service Worldwide

HONG KONG (05/02/2000) - Hyatt International Corp. today announced at a press conference here its plans to offer broadband Internet access in all Hyatt hotels outside the U.S., using I-Quest Corp.'s Worldroom Connect service.

The hotelier will add the service this month to the Grand Hyatt Hong Kong, Grand Hyatt Seoul, and Grand Hyatt Shanghai, and will offer Worldroom in all of its properties by May 2001, according to a Hyatt statement. Installation in European hotels will begin in June with the Grand Hyatt Berlin and Hyatt Regency Cologne, in Germany.

I-Quest ultimately will wire 67 current properties in 35 countries, as well as 26 hotels under construction, for coverage in 42 countries, according to I-Quest. A total of 32,062 rooms will have the service.

Worldroom Connect lets guests surf the Web or conduct business over either an I-Quest virtual private network (VPN) or the Internet, at speeds as high as approximately 1M bits per second (bps), said Daniel Widdicombe, chief financial officer of I-Quest, in a phone interview today.

The worldwide Hyatt offer will mean business travelers can count on finding high-speed access in any Hyatt hotel, Widdicombe said.

"It standardizes a solution for business travelers so they feel comfortable carrying their laptops around," Widdicombe said.

The Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) service can be provided over existing telephone cabling and is likely to offer between 128K bps and 1M bps depending on the bandwidth available from local service providers, Widdicombe said.

Technically, it can provide as much as 10M bps of throughput. The price for users probably will range from US$10 to $18 per night, he added.

Worldroom Connect also provides proprietary city guide information and online conferencing services, according to I-Quest. Corporations can contract with I-Quest to use a VPN set up by the company for access to corporate resources.

Broadband service in hotels is in particularly high demand in Europe and Asia, especially in China, Widdicombe said.

"Outside the U.S., broadband connectivity is extremely rare. In Asia, broadband penetration is very low, so the demand for this service is very high," Widdicombe said.

I-Quest's service is offered today in more than 120 hotels, including eight Hyatt properties, the company said in a statement.

Hyatt International Hotels, based in Hong Kong, operates all the Hyatt Hotels outside the U.S. The company can be reached at +852-2768-1234 or online at http://www.hyatt.com. I-Quest, also in Hong Kong, can be reached at +852-3102-6200 or online at http://www.worldroom.com.

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