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Coming Soon to New York-Area Airports: Free Wi-Fi

The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey this week approved a deal that will bring free WiFi to four airports: New York JFK, LaGuardia, Newark, and Stewart.

According to New York governor Mario Cuomo, “As we prepare to transform JFK and LaGuardia into the internationally-renowned airports that New Yorkers deserve, access to free WiFi is one area where we can make quick progress.”

The Port Authority’s news release picked up on the same theme: “Customer feedback has consistently expressed a desire for free WiFi access at the agency’s airports.”

By this fall, the airports’ WiFi provider, a subsidiary of Boingo, will upgrade the WiFi infrastructure to allow for better connectivity and increased download speeds, from the current 3 Mbps to 5 Mbps.

Airport users will receive free Wi-Fi access for the first 30 minutes, after which they’ll pay $4.95 an hour or $7.95 for a full day.

With free WiFi already offered by every one of the world’s top 15 airports, the change in the New York area airports is overdue. The 30-minute limit is sure to be criticized as inadequate as well. But it’s a step in the right direction. In any case, travelers may as well get used to the new pricing policy: The new contract with Boingo will remain in place for the next 10 years.

Reader Reality Check

Free is always good. But free-for-30-minutes … ?

This article originally appeared on

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