The AOL of the Oceans?

FRAMINGHAM (03/27/2000) - Glenn Farrington, CEO of privately held Digital Wireless International Inc., hopes his company will become the "AOL of the oceans," serving remote users not only on cruise ships, but also on large, overnight European ferries, cargo ships and oil rigs.

Farrington hatched the idea for Sunrise, Florida-based Digital Seas while working in the entertainment division at America Online Inc. four years ago. He was on a cruise, and said he felt frustrated that he couldn't check the price of the company's volatile stock, sensed an opportunity, resigned his post at AOL and started Digital Seas.

Like AOL, Digital Seas uses a proprietary "controlled environment." Borrowing a lesson from another Web pioneer, Amazon.com Inc., Digital Seas has filed for intellectual property patents for that environment.

Once Digital Seas lives up to its motto, "The earth is mostly water . . . somebody has to wire it," Farrington said. The company will offer wireless access to passengers who want to use their Palm VII handhelds while aboard ship.

The company's trolling for customers runs deep. "We have received inquiries from the crews of tuna boats operating off the Falkland Islands," Farrington said.

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