Continental, Logan Airport in WiFi Dispute

Continental, Logan Airport in WiFi Dispute

Logan International Airport in Boston is trying to block Continental Airlines from providing free wireless Internet access to its frequent flyers — a service for which the airport charges $7.95 — calling it a threat to security, the Associated Press reported.

The Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan, claims Continental’s Wireless Fidelity, or “Wi-Fi,” service has interfered with other wireless devices, but did not give specifics.

Continental rejects the claim and argues Massport cannot legally restrict its use of the technology. The Houston-based airline filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

“We believe that offering the free Wi-Fi service at Logan is consistent with FCC regulations and its prior rulings, and is permitted by the terms of our lease with Massport,” Continental spokeswoman Julie King said.

A Massport spokesman declined comment on Continental’s complaint, which an FCC spokesman said is the first of its kind involving Wi-Fi access at airports.

All 27 of Continental’s frequent-flyer lounges have offered free Wi-Fi service since last December. But in July, a Massport attorney warned the airline that its antenna “presents an unacceptable potential risk” to Logan’s safety and security systems, including its key-card access system and State Police communications.

Massport told the airline it could route its wireless signals over Logan’s Wi-Fi signal at a “very reasonable rate.”

Craig Mathias — founder of the Farpoint Group, an Ashland-based wireless consulting firm — told the Associated Press that Wi-Fi signals can interfere with each other, but not with other wireless devices.

“It’s hard to imagine how this is a security threat,” he said. “They clearly don’t want the competition.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *