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"Winston-Salem, N.C., airport seek bids to install wireless Internet network"



Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Winston-Salem, N.C., airport seek bids to install wireless Internet
network
The Winston-Salem  (NC) Journal


The Piedmont Triad International Airport is soliciting bids to install
wireless Internet service within its terminal, as airports across the
country install wireless services for business travelers.

The airport has called for bids to install at least one wireless
receiver within the terminal's executive center, airport officials said
yesterday. It will accept bids until the end of next month.

High-speed wireless service allows computer users to access the Internet
through a fast broadband connection. The technology uses a short-range
radio signal to broadcast Internet signals to a limited area.

Ted Johnson, the executive director of the airport authority, which
oversees the airport, said that the authority decided to request the
bids to answer the needs for some of its travelers.

He could not estimate how much the project would cost, but said he hoped
any high-speed provider would pay the airport for the installation.

"We've had requests from a number of people" to install a high-speed
Internet network, he said. "You don't do these things unless people want
you to do them."

The Triad airport isn't alone. A growing number of passengers across the
country are clamoring for high-speed wireless, or wireless-fidelity,
services.

In April, Sprint announced it would install wireless services in Salt
Lake City International Airport, following other airlines such as Delta
Airlines, which installed high-speed wireless connections in its Atlanta
hub.

"A number of airports are looking to do this sort of thing," Johnson
said.

The wireless market is projected to grow significantly in the next five
years.

The global wireless local-area network market was worth $650 million
about in 2002, according to Datamonitor, a market-research company. The
value of the market is projected to be about $1.3 billion in 2006.

About 21 national airports are now equipped with wireless technology,
said Roberta Wiggins, a research fellow with the Yankee Group, an
information technology research and consulting group.

"It's definitely a trend," she said. Airports "are very valuable real
estate for Wi-Fi deployment."

Wireless services, enabling people to receive and trade information
primarily through laptop computers, have become a larger draw for some
travelers, said Peggy Low, the vice president for technology development
at the Greater Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce. The more business
travelers the airport could attract, the better off it would be, she
said.

"We're working really hard to communicate that the Triad is a
technologically savvy place," she said. "People are become so truly
dependent on Internet and email. This is the way things are."

Johnson, the airport's executive director, could not speculate on when
the project would begin. "We're just out fishing," he said.


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