Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson airport finally has its Wi-Fi network turned on: It's been a long haul, with discarded ideas and programs, and then a delay of several months from a summer launch date. But it's live. The country's busiest airport has an 5.8 million-square-foot-coverage, Cisco-powered Wi-Fi network using 150 access points. Atlanta will have 88 million travelers in 2005, half of which are on a business trip.
The network is neutral host, meaning that the contractor (SITA Information Network Computing) offers non-discriminatory resale access to all comers, and Boingo already has a press release out that they're live in Georgia. (They're offering a deal, too: buy a one-day pass in Atlanta for $9.95 and get a second at no cost.) Concourse and Sprint are also offering day passes.
I confirmed with Boingo that customers with unlimited monthly service plans would receive access to Atlanta at no additional charge. Concourse confirmed that their downstream reseller partners like iPass would receive access to Atlanta through Concourse's fee settlement relationship.
There's a nice logo, a home page link, and pages explaining the service on the Web site. The cell network was upgraded, too, which should be a nice boon for both voice and 3G users.
There's a Wi-Fi Technology Expo today and tomorrow to kick off the network's launch. This is a big day for business travelers through Atlanta, including Coca-Cola, Fed Ex, and the federal government.
And note that Atlanta is not whining, like Boston, about several existing Wi-Fi networks operated by airlines and others interfering with critical systems and emergency response.