AT&T, Intel and IBM have announced that they are combining their technologies and capabilities to create a new company, Cometa Networks, that will provide high-speed wireless Internet access nationwide. The company will work with major national and regional retail chains, hotels, universities and real estate firms to deploy thousands of wireless “hot spots,” which will utilize WiFi technology — also called 802.11, the technology Apple’s AirPort is based on. Cometa Networks’ wireless access is targeted to begin roll out during 2003 in the 50 largest U.S. cities. By 2004, the company hopes to have 20,000 wireless access points, placing the service within a five-minute walk of any city resident, or a five-minute drive of a suburban resident.