Texas is the first state in the nation to provide free wireless Internet access at its safety rest areas, the Texas Department of Transportation announced today.
TxDOT began experimenting with wireless Internet service last fall, when the department provided the capability at twin rest areas on U.S. 287 in Donley County. Free wireless service also is available at two rest areas on the same highway in Hardeman County.
�The feedback we�ve received so far has been very positive,� said Andy Keith, Safety Rest Area Program Manager for TxDOT�s Maintenance Division. �Texas� highways are seeing an increasing number of business travelers, truckers and RVers and access to email is important to them. They have really responded favorably to our four �hot spots� on U.S. 287.�
TxDOT has taken the first step to expand the service to all of its 84 safety rest areas and 12 Travel Information Centers by issuing a request for offer seeking vendors able to provide free wireless Internet service and pay telephone-like Internet access at kiosks.
Keith said he envisions computers in the kiosks being available in 15 minute increments by swiping a credit card through a reader. But wireless access will be free for anyone with their own equipment.
I will have to make use of it this summer enroute when we take the baby to Sea World :) The spread of Wi-Fi technology is really a major event which we who live through it don't really have the perspective to fully grasp. The potential for transformative impact on our society is immense. The transformative power is not just in bringing new uses to market, but in making old institutions obsolete.
UPDATE: Seems that Austin is the Wi-Fi capital of the planet...