It's not just apartment complexes that are looking for high-speed access for their tenants. Office buildings, airports, malls and other public places that pack a lot of people are busy digging up new ways to connect to the 'Net.

Because of this new demand, broadband equipment and services sales to this market are expected to reach $4.8 billion by 2004, according to a study by Cahners In-Stat Group.

A case in point is the Hotel Movie Network and AMMTec Consulting, two broadband service providers that have teamed up to provide broadband services to the lodging industry.

"The addition of broadband service to our existing revenue base will allow Hotel Movie Network to maximize our per room revenues," Chandos Mahon, COO of C-3D Digital, which owns Hotel Movie Network, said in a statement. "In our test models with AMMTec, we have seen an increase of as much as 200 percent when overlaid with our current pay-per-view activities."

The Hotel Movie Network says it expects revenues to increase by $100,000 per quarter to start and thinks that figure could triple as they deploy to more rooms.

Another business branching into providing Internet access broadly is XO Communications. The company has launched its services to businesses in San Antonio and is offering local and long-distance service, Internet access, e-mail, VPNs, and Web hosting to its MTU customers.

The Cahners In-Stat Group study also found that demand is creating a new type of provider, one that is moving the Internet access point-of-presence into the buildings where tenants reside. This reduces the cost of Internet access because many people are sharing the cost of a T-1 line or other broadband Internet gateways.