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Wireless to Drive Internet Growth, Tech Leaders Say

Wireless services will lead the next growth phase of the Internet as venture capitalists who helped fund the early boom open their wallets again, industry leaders said Monday.

``I think the Internet's largest opportunities are in bringing new services, ones that we barely imagine, to billions of people around the world, wirelessly,'' said John Doerr, one of Silicon Valley's most renowned venture capitalists and a partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

``We're probably in the early ... adolescence of this Internet world.''

Doerr spoke at a roundtable discussion of the TechNet Innovation Summit at the Mountain View, California, headquarters of search company Google Inc.. TechNet is a bipartisan political network of about 400 CEOs that promotes technology.

One focus of the discussion was new ways to use wireless technology to expand the Web. Wi-Fi, the popular term for wireless high-speed Internet access over short distances, is gaining traction and other wireless technologies are in the works.

``The interesting thing about wireless is what it can do to bring the rest of the world into the Web,'' Intel Corp. President and Chief Operating Officer Paul Otellini said. ``You can start to think about bringing this into rural markets.''


Chief Executives John Chambers of Cisco Systems Inc., Eric Schmidt of Google and Terry Semel of Yahoo Inc. also pointed to Wi-Fi and high-speed, or broadband, Internet access as twin engines of growth for their companies and the industry.

``There are many ways in which devices are going to be connected,'' said Bill Joy, former chief scientist and a co-founder of high-end computer maker Sun Microsystems Inc. ``The thing we probably have not paid enough attention to is there are going to be many kinds of Webs,'' he said.

In addition to the familiar World Wide Web, Joy said he envisioned sub-sections of the Internet providing a personal Web, an information Web and an entertainment Web, among others.


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