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NEW YORK -- BP, which boasts 9,000 gas stations and truck stops in the U.S. and Canada, began deployment of free Wi-Fi with help from Ruckus Wireless, a leading provider of Wi-Fi gear based in Sunnyvale, Calif., this month, according to a report by USA Today. More than 90 percent of station owners are expected to participate, Ruckus spokesman David Callisch told the newspaper.
BP’s goal is to entice drivers to stay longer and check out what its stores have to offer inside, such as on-site restaurants, video arcades and more, the report stated.
John Strickland Jr., president of Wayne Oil in Goldsboro, N.C., told the newspaper he plans to make free Wi-Fi available in all 15 of his stations, which are scattered throughout the state. He decided to install Wi-Fi because it's "become an expectation in life" among the traveling public, he said. "If you travel, nothing makes you more angry than to have to pay $6, $9 or $12 for an Internet connection that you only need for an hour."
Strickland said Wi-Fi can do the same for BP that it did for Starbucks. "We want people to feel comfortable sitting in our BP stations just like they do in Barnes & Noble and Starbucks," he said in the report. "We think it’s a good opportunity to attract people to our facilities."
BP's network is being installed on a station-by-station basis, and owners can insert local ads for on-site restaurants and specials on DVDs, sodas and more, according to the report.