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A digital media software platform for pay-per-use jukeboxes and other digital media vending devices, will begin offering wireless Internet access through its national network of digital-downloading jukeboxes. Pronto Networks, a leading provider of carrier-class operations support systems will manage the large scale Wi-Fi networks.

Through their new Ecast Unplugged service, which gives jukebox operators the ability to add Wi-Fi to any broadband-enabled Ecast location, patrons will be able to surf the net, access email and send instant messages from thousands of restaurants and taverns throughout U.S.

After pilot testing Ecast Unplugged Wi-Fi in ten jukebox locations for nearly a year, we found that customers stay longer and spend more at venues where they can log on, said Robbie Vann-Adibe, Ecast s chief executive. Thanks to Pronto Networks Wi-Fi solution, our operators will be able to easily convert their Ecast-powered locations into wireless hotspots.

Pronto s software also reports usage and revenue statistics on a chain-wide level, as well as providing the ability to brand a splash page, which is the first page that loads in an Internet browser when someone logs onto the Ecast Unplugged Wi-Fi service.

Adding Wi-Fi is just the first step in providing new digital services to consumers, said Jasbir Singh, president and CEO of Pronto Networks. In the future, wireless gaming, selling audio/video downloads and fantasy sports are all possibilities.

Used to be you put a sign up advertising that you had air conditioning and people came in. Now, you put up a sign that says you have wireless Internet access instead, said Mick, owner of Scobies Sports Bar & Grill in Alameda, California, one of the pilot locations that tested Ecast Unplugged.

Ecast will introduce Ecast Unplugged at the trade at the AMOA International Expo, sponsored by the Amusement & Music Operators Association in Las Vegas, on Sept. 30 through Oct. 2.

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