Cometa Semiotics

David Weinberger blogged my reaction to a WiFi company’s announcement: To me it looks even simpler than that, a couple guys trying to make a small deal look big. Why else would they call Intel Capital “Intel”, and IBM Global Services “IBM”? Why are there no quotes from ATT, Intel and IBM in the release? Why don’t they post the size of the deal, instead of the scope of their goals? Why is their entire physical contact info “866-266-3823″? Why is Steve Harris, VP Corporate Affairs, listed as the sole press contact on the copy of the release on att.com? Etc.

(To be fair, I’d like to correct the last observation: there are other press contacts listed on the ATT version, although if you scroll to the bottom, Steve Harris is listed there alone, under “For more information, reporters may contact:”.)

Here’s what Cometa’s release said:

Cometa Networks plans to provide this service to telecommunications companies, Internet Service providers (ISPs), cable operators and wireless carriers…

Cometa NetworksÂ’ 802.11 network access is targeted to begin roll out…

Cometa Networks plans to achieve critical economies of scale…

Cometa Networks will have offices in San Francisco and New York. The initial Board will consist of Lawrence B. Brilliant, Cometa ’s CEO; Ted Schell, General Partner of Apax Partners ; and Robin Murray, General Partner at 3i.

Here’s what the press said:

AP: Three tech industry heavyweights joined forces Thursday in a bid to blanket the country with wireless Internet access fast enough to permit streaming of movies or online game-playing.

John Markoff, NY Times News Services: Cometa executives insisted, however, that they were in a different position from their predecessors. The companies have a technological advantage in that they will not have to create customer equipment, relying on Intel’s equipping the nation’s portable computers with wireless abilities. ((Doesn’t this advantage accrue to all of Cometa’s competitors, too?))

Peter Lewis, Fortune: Cometa is not the first attempt to set up nationwide wireless access points. But considering the heft of its backers — AT&T, IBM and Intel — it legitimizes the whole wireless Internet idea in the same way that IBM’s original PC legitimized the whole idea of personal computers. ((It might legitimize the idea, but it’s got to happen, first.))

I’ve included the press release from the Cometa and ATT sites, and the Cometa contact information from the Cometa site below:


Announcement From cometanetworks.com

Source: http://www.cometanetworks.com/

CONTACT: Steve Harris
Cometa Networks
866-266-3823
mediarelations@cometanetworks.com

A replay of Thursday December 5th’s press call can be heard by dialing 888-203-1112 and entering passcode 622207.

cometa networks formed to provide
national wireless internet ACCESS

NEW YORK, Dec. 5, 2002 – Leading technology companies AT&T, Intel and IBM, and global investment concerns Apax Partners and 3i today announced they are utilizing their collective technologies and capabilities to create a new company, Cometa Networks, that will provide broadband, wholesale, wireless Internet access nationwide.

Cometa Networks plans to provide this service to telecommunications companies, Internet Service providers (ISPs), cable operators and wireless carriers, who then can offer their customers wireless Internet access, using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, also called 802.11. Cometa will also offer wireless Internet access to enterprise customers through the participating carriers

The company will work with major national and regional retail chains, hotels, universities and real estate firms to deploy the broadband wireless access service in “hot spots” throughout the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas.

Cometa’s service will make it possible for users to keep existing sign-on procedures, email addresses, IDs, passwords and payment methods – regardless of whether they are accessing the Internet via an ISP, corporate virtual private network, telecommunications provider or cable operator.

“Wi-Fi will bring distributed computing into the general public environment leading to increased business productivity and new consumer applications,” said Lawrence B. Brilliant, Chief Executive Officer, Cometa Networks. “Mobile professionals want a consistent, integrated solution that makes it easier to access reports, customer information and email using their existing Internet accounts, whether a mile from home or across the country.”

“Wi-Fi technology gives mobile workers high-performance productivity tools that help them boost performance and customer service – whenever and wherever they’re working,” Brilliant added.

Cometa Networks’ 802.11 network access is targeted to begin roll out during 2003 in top 50 U.S. urban markets. The company is in talks with customers and additional partners.

AT&T plans to provide network infrastructure and management. IBM plans to provide wireless site installations and back-office systems.

“Cometa Networks plans to achieve critical economies of scale by building on the retail brands and customer reach of service providers,” said Theodore Schell, Cometa Networks Chairman and General Partner of Apax Partners. “Our goal at Cometa Networks is to provide the quality of service, nationwide footprint and seamless integration into corporate networks that will stand the test of demanding enterprises.”

Cometa Networks will have offices in San Francisco and New York. The initial Board will consist of Lawrence B. Brilliant, Cometa’s CEO; Ted Schell, General Partner of Apax Partners; and Robin Murray, General Partner at 3i. Financial details were not disclosed.

For more information, please visit www.cometanetworks.com

About Apax Partners

Apax Partners, Inc., one of the world’s leading private equity investment groups, manages more than $11 billion on behalf of institutional investors worldwide. Its cross-border teams of more than 170 investment professionals in the US, Europe, Israel and Japan work together to identify the best investment opportunities in the following industry sectors: Information Technology, Telecommunications, Healthcare, Media, Financial Services, and Retail/Consumer. Funds advised by Apax pursue a balanced equity portfolio strategy, investing in companies at all stages of development from start-up to buy-out in amounts ranging from $3 million to $3 billion.

About AT&T

AT&T (www.att.com) is among the premier voice, video and data communications companies in the world, serving businesses, consumers, and government. The company runs the largest, most sophisticated communications network in the U.S., backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs. A leading supplier of data, Internet and managed services for the public and private sectors, AT&T offers outsourcing and consulting to large businesses and government. The company is a market leader in local, long distance and Internet services, as well as transaction-based services like prepaid cards, collect calling and directory assistance. With approximately $40 billion of revenues, AT&T has relationships with about 50 million consumers and 4 million business customers, who depend on AT&T for high-quality communications. AT&T has garnered several awards for outstanding performance and customer service.

About IBM Global Services

IBM Global Services is the world’s largest information technology services provider, with professionals serving customers in 160 countries and annual revenue of about $35 billion (2001). IBM Global Services integrates IBM’s broad range of capabilities — consulting, IT services, hardware, software and research — to help companies of all sizes realize the full value of information technology.

About Intel Capital

Intel Capital, Intel’s strategic investment program, focuses on making equity investments and acquisitions to grow the Internet economy in support of Intel’s strategic interests. Intel Capital invests in hardware, software and services companies in several market segments, including computing, networking, and wireless communications. For more information, visit www.intel.com/capital.

About 3i

3i is a leading international venture capital company with U.S. offices in Menlo Park, CA and Waltham, MA. Operating since 1945, 3i has invested worldwide over $20 billion, including co-investment funds, through its 16-country, 3-continent network of 36 offices. 3i leverages this worldwide presence to add value to its portfolio companies and investment partners. In the United States, 3i concentrates on early and later stage technology investments in companies with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Outside the USA, 3i invests broadly in private equity and venture capital.

Since opening businesses in 1999, 3i is already among one of the most active VC’s in its markets. Recent investments in early stage companies include Bitfone, Knowmadic, Sonim and OmniGuide. Along with these early stage investments, 3i successfully implemented its later stage initiative with the stated goal of placing an equal focus on both early stage start-ups as well as later stage investments. Recent investments include Top Layer and Placeware. Visit 3i and its portfolio at www.3ius.com.

# # #

* IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines

Cometa ‘Safe Harbor’
This news release includes statements about potential future events that are forward-looking in nature and subject to risks and uncertainties. The Company cautions that it is a new venture and its success will be affected by a number of factors, including its ability to raise sufficient amount of capital and enter into satisfactory commercial arrangements with customers and suppliers. Many of these factors are beyond the Company’s control, and that future events and results may vary substantially from what the Company currently foresees.


Company Contacts From cometanetworks.com

Source: http://www.cometanetworks.com/contact.html

Cometa Networks, Inc.
866-266-3
823
mediarelations@cometanetworks.com

Lawrence B. Brilliant
President and CEO
larry.brilliant@cometanetworks.com

Steve Harris
VP Corporate Affairs
steve.harris@cometanetworks.com


News Release From att.com

Source: http://www.att.com/news/item/0,1847,11137,00.html

Editor’s note: This release has been issued by: AT&T, Intel and IBM, and global investment concerns Apax Partners and 3i. Representatives from Cometa Networks, AT&T, Intel, IBM, APAX Partners and 3i will be available via conference call to answer questions at 2 p.m. EST. Call info: Dial-in: 800.314.7867, passcode: 622207.

FOR RELEASE THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2002
Cometa Networks Formed To Provide National Wireless Internet Access

NEW YORK — Leading technology companies AT&T, Intel and IBM, and global investment concerns Apax Partners and 3i today announced they are utilizing their collective technologies and capabilities to create a new company, Cometa Networks, that will provide broadband, wholesale, wireless Internet access nationwide.

Cometa Networks plans to provide this service to telecommunications companies, Internet Service providers (ISPs), cable operators and wireless carriers, who then can offer their customers wireless Internet access, using wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) technology, also called 802.11. Cometa will also offer wireless Internet access to enterprise customers through the participating carriers.

The company will work with major national and regional retail chains, hotels, universities and real estate firms to deploy the broadband wireless access service in “hot spots” throughout the top 50 U.S. metropolitan areas.

Cometa’s service will make it possible for users to keep existing sign-on procedures, email addresses, IDs, passwords and payment methods — regardless of whether they are accessing the Internet via an ISP, corporate virtual private network, telecommunications provider or cable operator.

“Wi-Fi will bring distributed computing into the general public environment leading to increased business productivity and new consumer applications,” said Lawrence B. Brilliant, Chief Executive Officer, Cometa Networks. “Mobile professionals want a consistent, integrated solution that makes it easier to access reports, customer information and email using their existing Internet accounts, whether a mile from home or across the country.”

“Wi-Fi technology gives mobile workers high-performance productivity tools that help them boost performance and customer service — whenever and wherever they’re working,” Brilliant added.

Cometa Networks’ 802.11 network access is targeted to begin roll out during 2003 in top 50 U.S. urban markets. The company is in talks with customers and additional partners.

AT&T plans to provide network infrastructure and management. IBM plans to provide wireless site installations and back-office systems.

“Cometa Networks plans to achieve critical economies of scale by building on the retail brands and customer reach of service providers,” said Theodore Schell, Cometa Networks Chairman and General Partner of Apax Partners. “Our goal at Cometa Networks is to provide the quality of service, nationwide footprint and seamless integration into corporate networks that will stand the test of demanding enterprises.”

Cometa Networks will have offices in San Francisco and New York. The initial Board will consist of Lawrence B. Brilliant, Cometa’s CEO; Ted Schell, General Partner of Apax Partners; and Robin Murray, General Partner at 3i. Financial details were not disclosed.

For more information, please visit www.cometanetworks.com.

About Apax Partners

Apax Partners, Inc., one of the world’s leading private equity investment groups, manages more than $11 billion on behalf of institutional investors worldwide. Its cross-border teams of more than 170 investment professionals in the US, Europe, Israel and Japan work together to identify the best investment opportunities in the following industry sectors: Information Technology, Telecommunications, Healthcare, Media, Financial Services, and Retail/Consumer. Funds advised by Apax pursue a balanced equity portfolio strategy, investing in companies at all stages of development from start-up to buy-out in amounts ranging from $3 million to $3 billion.

Contact: Tim Turpin, 415-345-4722, tim@outcastpr.com

About AT&T

AT&T (www.att.com) is among the premier voice, video and data communications companies in the world, serving businesses, consumers, and government. The company runs the largest, most sophisticated communications network in the U.S., backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs. A leading supplier of data, Internet and managed services for the public and private sectors, AT&T offers outsourcing and consulting to large businesses and government. The company is a market leader in local, long distance and Internet services, as well as transaction-based services like prepaid cards, collect calling and directory assistance. With approximately $40 billion of revenues, AT&T has relationships with about 50 million consumers and 4 million business customers, who depend on AT&T for high-quality communications. AT&T has garnered several awards for outstanding performance and customer service.

Contact: Kate Rankin, 201 755-5468, korankin@att.com

About IBM Global Services

IBM Global Services is the world’s largest information technology services provider, with professionals serving customers in 160 countries and annual revenue of about $35 billion (2001). IBM Global Services integrates IBM’s broad range of capabilities — consulting, IT services, hardware, software and research — to help companies of all sizes realize the full value of information technology.

Contact: Jan Walbridge, 914-766-4647, walbridge@us.ibm.com

About Intel Capital

Intel Capital, Intel’s strategic investment program, focuses on making equity investments and acquisitions to grow the Internet economy in support of Intel’s strategic interests. Intel Capital invests in hardware, software and services companies in several market segments, including computing, networking, and wireless communications. For more information, visit www.intel.com/capital.

Contact: Laura Anderson, 408-666-5915, laura.m.anderson@intel.com

About 3i

3i is a leading international venture capital company with U.S. offices in Menlo Park, CA and Waltham, MA. Operating since 1945, 3i has invested worldwide over $20 billion, including co-investment funds, through its 16-country, 3-continent network of 36 offices. 3i leverages this worldwide presence to add value to its portfolio companies and investment partners. In the United States, 3i concentrates on early and later stage technology investments in companies with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Outside the USA, 3i invests broadly in private equity and venture capital.

Since opening businesses in 1999, 3i is already among one of the most active VC’s in its markets. Recent investments in early stage companies include Bitfone, Knowmadic, Sonim and OmniGuide. Along with these early stage investments, 3i successfully implemented its later stage initiative with the stated goal of placing an equal focus on both early stage start-ups as well as later stage investments. Recent investments include Top Layer and Placeware. Visit 3i and its portfolio at www.3ius.com.

Contact: Katja Gehrt, 650-470-3210, Katja_Gehrt@3i.com

* IBM is a registered trademark of International Business Machines

Cometa ‘Safe Harbor’

This news release includes statements about potential future events that are forward-looking in nature and subject to risks and uncertainties. The Company cautions that it is a new venture and its success will be affected
by a number of factors, including its ability to raise sufficient amount of capital and enter into satisfactory commercial arrangements with customers and suppliers. Many of these factors are beyond the Company’s control, and that future events and results may vary substantially from what the Company currently foresees.

Comment (1)

  1. Kathryn Hegar wrote::

    I’m revising a college-level textbook. A reference is made that Cometa Networks planned to set up 20,000 hot spots nationwide. Has that happened? What has Cometa Networks ccomplished in the last three years?

    Thursday, February 16, 2006 at 20:34 #