Intertainment is the name of an e-business initiative that encourages shopping malls and other public places to provide visitors with free high-speed Internet access. The goal of Intertainment is to expose the non-surfing public to the Internet and encourage Internet growth.
One major target of Internet service providers ( ISP s) is the American shopping mall. According to the International Council of Shopping Centers, millions of Americans still don't have access to the Internet, but more than 90 percent of them visit a shopping center each month. A typical Intertainment center in a mall consists of a dozen computers arranged in a circle using a DSL , cable modem , or other high-speed Internet connection. Passing shoppers are encouraged to stop for a moment and check mail, visit e-commerce Web sites and surf. Unlike a cybercafe , where a user might pay for personal use of a computer, sit for a while, and expect a little privacy, Intertainment centers are set up to encourage people to stand while browsing. There is no illusion of privacy. Part of the fun is being able to pass by and look to see what others are doing. By providing a free and fast Internet connection in such a casual atmosphere, Intertainment providers hope to remove the mystique of surfing the Web for potential new users.
Mall owners are receptive to Intertainment initiatives, because the ISP pays rental fees for kiosk space and shoppers are encouraged to extend their stay at the mall. ISPs who provide the Intertainment centers see it as one more way to promote their fastest Internet service. It is often a profitable venture because the center's high visibility in the mall allows the provider to sell ads for products and services that can be displayed as part of the kiosk.