Yahoo is considering giving users of Yahoo Messenger free access to tens of thousands of Wi-Fi hot spots worldwide so they can engage in instant messaging, including voice communications, while unplugged from their regular home or office Internet connection. Yahoo recently polled users about this possible new service, which the Sunnyvale, Calif., company calls Yahoo Messenger On-the-Road, but it has no "imminent plans" to provide this service, a Yahoo spokeswoman said Wednesday via e-mail.A screen shot of a survey page was posted on Tuesday by the TechCrunch technology news blog, which covers companies and products in the Web 2.0 space.The Wi-Fi access would also have a fee-based option for users who want to do more than instant messaging, such as browsing the Web, for US$7.95 per month or $2.95 for a two-hour connection, according to that survey page.That Yahoo is mulling providing such a service isn\u2019t surprising, since Web portals are beginning to see Wi-Fi availability as an important promoter of Internet usage and thus of their services.For example, this is a key reason for Google\u2019s entry into the Wi-Fi provision market. Larry Page, Google\u2019s cofounder and president of products, said late last year about the company\u2019s Wi-Fi initiatives: "We\u2019re excited about expanding Internet access in general. We think that\u2019s really good for our business. As people have better access to the Internet, they do more searches and they use our services more."-Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News ServiceFor related CIO content, check out Wi-Fight.For related news coverage, read MetroFi to Blanket Portland, Ore., With Wi-Fi and Group: Yahoo Helped Jail Third Chinese Journalist.Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.