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Students Get Free Wi-Fi At PHL

College students can access the Internet for free at Philadelphia International (PHL), and so can everyone else on the weekends.

The airport has more than 100 semiprivate stations where travelers can sit down and plug in their laptops. For those wanting more private workspace or who need a computer, space is available for rent at Laptop Lane, between Terminals A and B.

“Many travelers, especially those on business, expect to be able to connect to the Internet and accomplish work in a reasonably comfortable environment at the airport,” says Rina Cutler, deputy mayor for transportation and utilities. “Our Wi-Fi program and business-oriented amenities are designed to meet those needs. We are attuned to the needs of travelers and strive to make their airport experience comfortable and efficient.”

The airport was one of the first in the nation to offer wireless Internet in 2003, and in December, the program was expanded to be free to college students.

From January 2007 to January 2008, wireless connections have increased 132%, from 10,393 to 24,166; more than half of those connections were free, with most coming on weekends.

Students must present a college identification card at any airport information center if they want free access; they will then be given an authorization code when they try to connect to the Internet.  Codes are not needed on the weekends.

For a 24-hour connection, the normal cost is $7.95; for monthly unlimited access, it is $39.95. Computers must have either built-in Wi-Fi technology or an 802.1 network interface card in order to connect.

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