Buick, Chevy, And GM Join Cadillac On The Info Superhighway

October 23, 2009

Back in March, we mentioned that Cadillac planned to offer Wi-Fi routers as a special option on most of its vehicle lineup. Now comes word that General Motors is extending the service, making on-the-go high-speed web access available on Buick, Chevrolet, and GMC models, too.

Like the Cadillac system, the Wi-Fi router GM will use comes from San Francisco's Autonet Mobile, and the cost of the hardware will still ring in at about $500 (uninstalled). Monthly service is advertised at $29 a month, although that's the figure for 1 GB of data transfer; for those who plan on heavier usage, there's a 5 GB plan for $59 per month. The router comes with a docking station, meaning that it can be removed and plugged into any other GM vehicle outfitted with a dock, which seems pretty handy for business types and families with a penchant for road trips.

The real story here is that General Motors is making the router a dealer-installed option, not just an add-on to be purchased from a parts store or other aftermarket retailer. GM says that the service will first be available in GM vans, SUVs, and trucks, since those are the sort of work/commuter/family vehicles most likely to benefit from the technology (although, as we said, it's been available on Cadillacs since the spring). Rollout to other models and brands should follow shortly.

While in-car Wi-Fi may help boost productivity -- especially for the self-employed and commuters -- some folks will certainly lament this development. Between laptops, web-enabled phones, and countless other gadgets people carry these days, bringing the Internet to automobiles likely means the death of conversation as we know it. On the other hand, if it keeps the kids quiet...

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