Metro Tech

New York City Airports Probably Aren’t Going to Offer Free Wifi Anytime Soon

Tip: Check Foursquare for free Internet access.
Grab a book, JFK passengers. (Photo: Flickr)

Grab a book, JFK passengers. (Photo: Flickr)

If you were worried that your experience was eventually to become less hellish at our city’s three major airports, don’t be. The Port Authority is considering extending its contract with wireless provider Boingo to keep charging you for Internet rather than providing free wifi.

The New York Post reports the P.A.’s contract with Boingo started 15 years ago and could go on for another decade. And there’s no reason for the airports to offer free wifi judging from the contract’s details. At $8 a day for a connection, the P.A., Boingo and the airlines all rake in millions of dollars every year.

And now flyer-advocacy groups are not pleased upon hearing that the PA will maintain its contract with Boingo, while cities of similar sizes provide complimentary wifi. “Boingo shouldn’t hold 110 million passengers hostage to a contract from a bygone era,” remarked advocate Joseph Sitt.

Boingo spokesman Christian Gunning defended the company, claiming that all those fees are resulting in improved network speeds. The company claims that airports that offer free wifi see the quality of their service diminish over time and that services, like 24 hour customer support, also fall by the wayside.

Can somebody call Google to become our knight in shining armor once again?

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com