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In Massachusetts, "Free" is a four-letter word

At Boston's Logan Airport, there's a bit of a kerfuffle between the airport and Continental Airlines that sheds quite a bit of light on the Massachusetts mentality.

The Massachusetts Port Authority (which runs Logan) currently offers wireless internet access for a $7.95/day fee. But Continental recently started offering WiFi for its frequent flyers for free.

There's nothing guaranteed to get a stronger response from a Massachusetts governing body than to threaten its income. They're ordering Continental to get stop their WiFi program.

They're trotting out the big guns, too. They say that Continental's WiFi transmitter could pose a security threat to the airport, possibly interfering with communications and other electronic systems at the airport. They offered a solution: Continental could get rid of their own system (which they offer at 27 airports around the country, so far without any problems) and use the airport's WiFi system -- for a reasonable fee, of course.

Continental is responding, saying that the Authority has no right to hold a monopoly on WiFi. They're saying the obvious -- there's absolutely no security risk in it, and that it's just a naked money grab. Further, they say that under FCC regulations, the Authority has no right to regulate WiFi.

It'll probably end up in court. And if there's a shred of justice and common sense, the Authority will get its wrists slapped and Continental can continue giving away access to its customers.

But then again, this is Massachusetts we're talking about...


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Comments (9)

Interesting... When the lo... (Below threshold)

Interesting... When the local news in the People's Republic of Mass-o-two-shits reported on this "security breach" they failed to mention, even casually, that the service was already available- for a fee.

Why can't they just run a f... (Below threshold)

Why can't they just run a fucking airport and stop trying to create a monopoly. You can't shit in that airport for free.

Sounds Like American AIrlin... (Below threshold)

Sounds Like American AIrlins, DFW and the Wright amendment.

Sounds Like American Airlin... (Below threshold)

Sounds Like American Airlines, DFW and the Wright amendment.

Is there any difference bet... (Below threshold)

Is there any difference between that and the statdium/concert venue who won't let you bring in your own bottled water because they want to sell it to you? If you're a captive audience, and they have something you need, they'll charge you for it.

But then again, this is ... (Below threshold)

But then again, this is Massachusetts we're talking about...

Well, if you're only postualting on what will happen in the state courts, the fact that "this is Massachusetts" will have some bearing. However, Continental is absolutely right and possess the trump card of FCC authority. That means that even if the state courts are overcome by an acute case of the stupids, the Federal courts (which do have jurisdiction) will bring the bitchslap down on the MPA.

If you take apply the water... (Below threshold)

If you take apply the water in the ball park scenario to this case, the ailine would have to buy all of the snacks, drinks, etc that are provided to its customers in the lounge from the airport. The airline would have to use the airport's baggage handlers to load and unload the planes. They could only use computer systems provided by the airport for handling ticketing operations.

The airport is carrying things too far. Continental is leasing space for the use of its business passengers/club members. This is not an area open to the general flying public.

...if there's a shred of... (Below threshold)

...if there's a shred of justice and common sense...

Ever the optimist, eh Jay?

I'm glad you say "But then ... (Below threshold)

I'm glad you say "But then again, this is Massachusetts we're talking about," when you do a story like this. Otherwise I'd think it was New York. George Pataxmi would fit right in over there.






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