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Logan offering free WiFi

Posted by Paul Makishima, Globe Assistant Sunday Editor  January 19, 2010 02:37 PM

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   The Massachusetts Port Authority has decided to offer free WiFi at Logan Airport for at least the next two years.

       Increasingly the nation’s airports and airlines are looking into offering free WiFi as Americans have come to view access to the Internet as a necessity. And this is especially true for business travelers, a group of consumers much valued by carriers.

          Logan has had a fee-based WiFi system in place for six years. The charge for the service allowed Massport to recoup its initial investment of several million dollars. The airport finally decided to move to a free service after noting the success of a just-ended program by Google.

             Starting in early November, Google had offered free Wifi at Logan and dozens of other airports around the nation till Jan 15 as a kind of holiday gift. Users were directed to a Google promotional page before accessing the Internet. During that two month period, use of the network increased nearly six-fold, Massport said in a press release.

           “One of the most frequently asked questions from our customers is: ‘Why don’t you have free WiFi at Logan?’ said Thomas J. Kinton Jr., CEO and executive director of Massport in a statement. “Well, we are pleased to be able to now say ‘We do!’ ''

                  While the new system will be free for consumers, it will be supported by advertising and sponsorship programs similar to the one employed by Google. Formerly travelers at Logan were charged  $7.95 per day .
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     Massport’s decision was finalized by a vote today to approve a two-year contract with Advanced Wireless Group to offer the service.

     While Logan’s current contract with AWG is just for two years, Massport expects the program to continue. ‘‘I cannot predict the future but after offering free WiFi for two years it’s hard to imagine that we’ll go back’’ to a paid model, said Matthew Brelis, a Massport spokesman.


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