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Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Wi-Fi at rest stops?

To encourage drivers to take more frequent breaks, the Texas Department of Transportation wants to set up free wireless Internet access at rest stops and travel information centers.

The department is accepting bids until next week and plans to choose a vendor in July. The chosen company won't be paid, however, to provide the free access.

TxDOT, which says Texas is the first state to provide such free access at rest areas, began experimenting with Wi-Fi hotspots last fall.

"The feedback we've received so far has been very positive," said Andy Keith, manager of TxDOT's maintenance division. "Texas' highways are seeing an increasing number of business travelers, truckers and RVers and access to e-mail is important to them."

While I like the idea of ubiquitous hotspots, I like less the idea of them being subsidized by the taxpayers. One of these days, the federal government is bound to determine that internet access is a "right", which means we will all be footing the bill for the access.

My personal solution for "always on" internet access is to carry a Palm Tungsten T and a Bluetooth phone with a data package. Then I can check email, weather, RSS feeds, or even blog from anywhere. I would rather pay for it myself than have the government (state, federal or local) subsidize it with tax dollars.


.: posted by Dave 8:50 AM

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