Dr. Andy

Reflections on medicine and biology among other things

Saturday, March 19, 2005

How should airport WiFi be priced

I am blogging from a free WiFi hotspot at the San Antonio convention center. It isn't clear if it's is always available or hear just for our convention.

Anyway, Pittsburgh features free WiFi in its airport for everyone while in Dallas/Fort Worth, it is $10 for unlimited use for a day. Anecdotally, more people were using it in Pittsburgh.

I wonder what the best pricing scheme would be? Obviously, I love the free WiFi but no one makes any money giving it away. Plus it is not like a restaurant or coffee shop where you have much of a choice. I guess you could arrange travel to connect in an airport with free WiFi but few people would sacrafice a better fare or shorter flight just for that (it certainly hasn't helped Pittsburgh much).

$10 seems high to me, especially since by the time I took the ridiculous train, made it to my new gate and ate dinner, I only had 15 minutes until boarding. I admit I'm cheap but I bet they'd generate more revenue by selling it for $4 or $5 dollars an hour with a daily maximum of $10. I'm assuming that once you put the network in, the marginal cost of each additional user is low (mostly for processing payment).

While I enjoy the free access in Pittsburgh, it seems silly for taxpayers to provide a service that b enefits primarily the well-off.

I am aware there are some plans that allow you to pay a monthly fee and connect at various hotspots but don't know how comprehensive coverage is.


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