Bucking the trend of larger airports, BWI goes fee-free: The Baltimore/Washington Thurgood Mashall Airport has contracted with BAA USA, the US division of the worldwide airport concessionaire and operator BAA, to provide free service. It's already available in some gates for American Airlines and AirTran, as well as at some restaurants in each terminal. The project will continue through summer. The airport served 20m passengers in 2005. Free service tends to be found in significant regional airports where passengers have options (flying versus driving or choosing one airport over another) such as Sacramento, Phoenix, and Las Vegas.
Walnut Creek firm unwires city hall area and nearby parks: Astound Broadband wants to blanket downtown with free Wi-Fi. They're "competing" with nearby Concord where MetroFi is launching a square mile of ad-supported free Wi-Fi on Thursday. Astound says their service could provide up to 10 Mbps versus MetroFi's 1 Mbps.
Mesa trying to light fire under no wire: Mesa wants to emulate neighbors like Chandler, Tempe, and Scottsdale in providing Wi-Fi service. A downtown association wants to add free Wi-Fi, and a city request for information should result in as many as 20 responses from interested firms later this week. There's some resistence, though, as a downtown computer store owner notes some "high customer-turnover businesses" aren't as interested. They don't know that when cell data becomes cheaper, it won't matter if there's Wi-Fi or not; they'll have to line their cafes with metal or ban laptop use.
Hood River gets free Wi-Fi for 90 days: The former local phone division of Sprint Nextel, now called Embarq, has covered three square miles in this small town about an hour east of Portland that's well known for water activities. The company will provide free Wi-Fi for 90 days while they experiment with service and price models. They might turn the network over to the city, too. (My brother-in-law lives in Hood River; I'll expect reports from him.)