Southern California breaking news and trends

Free WiFi coming in for a landing at LAX

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles International Airport will have free wireless Internet available to passengers beginning next month.

Free wireless Internet will be available at Los Angeles International Airport next month, even though city council members today denounced the airport’s process for obtaining the WiFi contract.

Councilman Joe Buscaino prompted the review of the Advanced Wireless Group contract after it was approved the Board of Airport Commissioners. Another provider, Los Angeles-based Boingo, could provide the airport with a better financial deal, Buscaino said.

“Can you imagine the city of Detroit needing a police car and not asking Ford or General Motors for a price?” he said.

The airport’s current Internet provider, T-Mobile, charges passengers $9.99 per session, which provides LAX with $1 million a year in revenue. However, T-Mobile will end its service on July 15, and airport officials testified that Advanced Wireless Group will provide a seamless transition between the two services. Ultimately, airport officials will sign with a company willing to make $20 million in upgrades to LAX’s infrastructure to provide a more reliable network. It will take at least two years to get a company in place. 

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LAX WiFi contract moves forward to LA City Council

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

A fight over free wireless Internet at Los Angeles International Airport comes down to service vs. money, according to members of a Los Angeles City Council committee.

A proposal to provide free wireless Internet access to passengers at Los Angeles International Airport remained on life support today, as a divided city council committee agreed to move forward with the contract even though it is possible another company could provide a more lucrative opportunity.

The Los Angeles City Council is scheduled to review the contract with Advanced Wireless Group on Wednesday. The airport’s current WiFi provider, T-Mobile, will end service on July 16, according to representatives with Los Angeles World Airports. 

The two-year contract with Advanced Wireless Group will provide the airport with $663,000 in revenue. Representatives for a rival company, Boingo, told the Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee today they could provide 32 percent more revenue to the city. As it is, the current WiFi setup at LAX, which costs $9.99 per session, brings in $1 million a year in revenue.

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LAX’s plans for free WiFi grounded by LA City Council

LAX Encounter restaurant

Photo by monkeytime | brachiator via Flickr Creative Commons

A contract to provide free wireless Internet at LAX will be reviewed by the Los Angeles City Council, delaying installation of the technology.

A contract that will bring free wireless Internet to Los Angeles International Airport hit a speed bump today as the Los Angeles City Council voted to review the contract because of concerns it was selected in a vacuum.

The two-year contract with Advanced Wireless Group will be reviewed by members of the Trade, Commerce and Tourism Committee on Monday. Council members said they were concerned about the contract because it was not selected through a competitive bidding process. 

LAX currently offers WiFi for a fee through T-Mobile. The company is ending that service and it will take at least two years to select a new contractor and install a permanent distributed antenna system, according to Debbie Bowers, deputy executive director for commercial development at Los Angeles World Airports. 

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