Hong Kong's Web surfers will have a new wireless option for logging on away from their homes and offices next week when the Pacific Coffee Company chain officially launches wireless Internet services within its shops. The networks will use the 802.11b wireless networking standard and will require that customers have their own network access cards. Four outlets at the eastern end of Hong Kong Island have already begun offering free trial access and will continue to do so courtesy of Swire Properties until the end of August. Access at other outlets will require that users have a Netvigator Internet access account. For locations where access is not free, charges will appear on the users' Netvigator bills, according to a Pacific Coffee spokeswoman. Pacific Coffee had 19 outlets in Hong Kong by the end of last year but not all had Internet access. Only those offering Internet access through land-lines will add wireless networks. Around the world 802.11b, which offers speeds of up to 11 megabits per second within a short range, has become a popular option for local area networks (LANs) in airports, hotels and offices. Here in Hong Kong, such networks have been set up at Chek Lap Kok airport, offices and university campuses. However, the Pacific Coffee network may be the most extensive public access 802.11b network to date in Hong Kong. In the United States, coffee chain Starbucks launched an ambitious 802.11b network last year, though partner MobileStar eventually declared bankruptcy and was bought out by VoiceStream. According to some reports, VoiceStream maintains about 500 of Mobilestar's wireless LANs at Starbucks outlets and American Airlines lounges. The business case for such wireless LANs has not yet been proven but the equipment is now widely available and the recent flurry of activity surrounding 802.11 networks includes the launch in the US of the Boingo service, giving access via networks across the country. In Hong Kong, sources indicate at least one service provider plans to launch a wireless business using 802.11a.