The Internet is coming to Cadillac.
Next month, the luxury brand will offer optional dealer-installed equipment enabling people in and around the vehicle to use laptop computers and other devices to connect to the Internet, equipment provider Autonet Mobile Inc. said last week.
Rear-seat passengers are the target users, said Autonet CEO Sterling Pratz. "In the back seat they're basically going to YouTube, where they once watched DVD players," he said. "Now every Cadillac CTS will come with the capability to have YouTube and Facebook in the car."
The system is built around a mobile router from Autonet — the company that provides Uconnect Web, a wireless Internet service available in Chrysler LLC vehicles. The system receives Internet signals through cellular data networks, then creates a Wi-Fi hot spot in and around the car.
Autonet and Cadillac plan to show the device in a Cadillac CTS Sport at the New York auto show in April.
One major difference from the Chrysler device is that the Cadillac router will be portable, connected to the vehicle through a docking port. A driver can have the docking port installed in more than one GM vehicle.
The router will be made smaller and sleeker for Cadillac, will carry a Cadillac emblem and will be sold under the name "Cadillac WiFi by Autonet Mobile." Customers will buy it from a dealer or online for about $499. Monthly subscriptions to Autonet's Internet service start at $29.
The technology raises a thorny issue: driver distraction. Because the Internet signal extends throughout the car, a person theoretically could surf the Internet while driving.