Saturday, February 04, 2006

Free WiFi? Why not?

This post comes from a friend...

As a frequent user of wireless internet in my home and in public spaces, including Harvard Medical School, Boston Public Library, and in hotels, I have often lamented that I am unable to use wireless access while delayed (usually) flying out of Boston's Logan International Airport. You see, I don't fly out of Logan frequently enough to warrant subscribing to Massport's expensive WiFi service. Little did I know, other airports offer this service for free, and local organizations are concerned that Massport's actions may possibly establish a dangerous precedent.

Massport's reasons for charging for WiFi? Here's an excerpt of an article from Ars Technica...

"...Massport inists that it needs to devote time and effort to monitoring WiFi access points to ensure that they do not negatively interfere with airline and security communications. Of course, it's just a coincidence that Massport installed its own WiFi network at Logan in 2004, for which it charges customers US$8 a day. Its own system is apparently in no danger of interfering with communications, though free systems installed by the airlines might be."

It also doesn't help that Massport shut down WiFi systems owned by Continental and American at Logan. The airport won't even allow Delta to fire up the system it installed in its own terminal, which opened last year after being renovated.

So should landlords (in this case, Logan Airport) force clients (the airlines) to use their network? Many feel that Massport is guilty of running a monopoly over wireless internet access, "blatantly contrary to federal law," according to a representative of the CTIA, an organization that backs wireless supporters like Verizon and Sprint.

Lastly, a few words on the safety airport WiFi use safe? According to the FCC, "...WiFi posed no in-flight danger to planes even as the FAA decided to continue its ban on the practice." If it's safe for use on planes, so should it be on the ground.

Read the entire article here.


Blogger Phlip said...

I knew that situation was f@*^ed up. The airlines should do whatever they need to do in order to get their own systems running. It's annoying.

2:03 PM  

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