Boingo Wireless acquires Opt-Fi Networks and its 25 airports: Boingo already operates 30 airports (mostly in North America) as part of its Concourse Communications networks. The purchase of Opti-Fi from its owners, Parsons and ARINC, means they cover 43 percent of "passenger enplanements" (i.e., the count of people getting on a plane, even counting transfers) in the U.S.
Opti-Fi runs smaller airports, such as Edmonton, El Paso, and Buffalo Niagara, but you add those together, and you still get millions of yearly passengers. Opti-Fi was already part of Boingo's network, so the acquisition means Boingo will derive more revenue from keeping sessions in house, as well as be able to use portals at the new airports to acquire more customers. It also increases Boingo's leverage with other WiFi networks in the U.S. and worldwide.
Under the Opti-Fi brand, Parsons also powers VIA Rail of Canada's train-based Internet service. Separately from Opti-Fi, Parsons provides Wi-Fi across the Washington State Ferry system, which handles about 50 percent of all ferry passenger trips in the U.S.--some tens of million of trips per year. (In fact, two runs alone account for 25 percent of all U.S. rider trips.) Neither project was mentioned in today's announcement. Odd, huh?
Oakland goes free: FreeFi has added the Oakland International Airport to its existing service in Denver. The company says that its deal with Denver, nearly a year old, has meant more income for the airport, even as the service went free. FreeFi sells ads and offers digital movie downloads in Denver. It said daily unique users nearly septupled after switching from from fee to free. The service filters Web content, which has drawn some criticism from David Byrne and BoingBoing.