Here I am sitting in the Vancouver airport waiting for my flight, writing a blog post using the free wifi access. It isn’t all that speedy – but its free. The Las Vegas airport also had free wifi, and better speeds.
Now the Ottawa airport doesn’t have free wifi – they’ve partnered with Boingo to provide a for fee service. At least the wifi in Ottawa gives you access to the airport website for free, so you can check flights etc.
If you naively connect to the Boingo wifi and open your browser, you are redirected to the page which lets you sign up. You can choose between a monthly rate of $11.95 or a 24hr pass for $9.95. The monthly rate seems like a deal. Of course you can also use your Boingo account a number of other places, but from what I saw it wasn’t enough other places to make it useful.
Examining the URL that I was redirected to, it was clear I was getting a special deal via a promo code: &PROMO=UNL01093CAD3. Removing that promo code, resulted in the same page – but with different pricing. Monthly jumps to $14.95 and 24hrs drops to $6.95. Seems like the promo code doesn’t really help as much as it should.
Digging around, Boingo also provides 30 days free for mobile access. If you read the terms of service, they specifically restrict laptops.
The National Captial Freenet offers DSL service for about $30 a month, and encourages you to share it with your neighbours. While the costs might be slightly different for something the scale of an airport, it has to pale in comparison to some of the other airport costs. Most of them levy an airport improvement fee in any case. If you didn’t want to squeeze out the for fee providers, just make the bandwidth and reliability the distinguishing factor.
Time to get on a plane..