Cometa Names New CEO


Cometa Networks--the joint wireless venture of IBM, AT&T and Intel--this week hired Gary Weis as its new president, CEO and director.

Weis had recently retired as senior vice president of global services at AT&T. Before his tenure at AT&T, Weis was general manager of network services for IBM's Global Network division.

Larry Brilliant, co-founder and interim CEO of Cometa, remains vice chairman of the board and chairman of Cometa's technical advisory board.

IBM, AT&T and Intel formed Cometa in December 2002 to build a nationwide Wi-Fi network. At the time of the launch, Cometa and IBM executives stressed the need for solution providers to help get Cometa off the ground.

"This is not a retail delivery plan but a wholesale plan. And by definition, partners are required to get to this market," said Mike Maas, vice president of marketing for IBM's communications sector business.

Solution providers welcomed the news that a national Wi-Fi network is on the horizon.

"We have been waiting for a national wireless network to emerge," said David Morken, president of Bandwidth.com, a Durham, N.C.-based communications service provider. "Customer demand is there for a cost-effective, last-mile alternative to traditional wireline connectivity."

Anyone seeking wireless broadband anywhere can sell Cometa services, according to Brilliant. "We will never be seen by the end user. We will not have a brand," he said. "We are a wholesale-only company, and we will be resold by all carriers, ISPs and others."