Airport-Airline WiFi Spats Start Again

from the we-don't-need-no-stinkin-rules dept

About a year ago, the first reports of airports trying to monopolize unlicensed spectrum inside their buildings came out, and the FCC moved pretty quickly to remind landlords that it and it alone has the right to regulate unlicensed wireless usage. This essentially meant that tenants -- generally airlines in this case -- are free to do whatever they want with WiFi, although at least one airport regarded this as "just talk". Now, Continental Airlines is asking the FCC to intervene and rule that Massport, which administers Boston's Logan Airport, has no authority to make it shut off its WiFi network in the terminal. It's the same story as in other locations: the airport authority signed a deal with a provider guaranteeing it exclusivity. The provider is selling access, and Continental is offering free public access as well as using WiFi for its own operations, cutting the airport authority and its third-party vendor out of the loop. It's hard to see the FCC agreeing with the airport as its previous guidance was pretty clear, and Massport's claims for an exception on safety grounds seem pretty hollow.


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