What it is: Yes, you can park your laptop at some pay phones and log on that way. But some pay phones aren't just computer parking spots, but all-inclusive browsers. At 80 AT&T Power Phones installed this past year at all three New York airports, users can check e-mail and surf travel, news, sports, stocks, and weather sites on a 12-inch screen for 25 cents per minute. In Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport, 10 PP2000i pay phones allow users to surf the complete Web and talk on the telephone at the same time, for the same quarter-a-minute rate. Eventually, AT&T plans to convert 1,250 existing airport pay phones across the nation to the new PP2000i model.
PUBLIC INTEREST KIOSKS
What it is: These pioneers of airport Web access are undergoing growing pains, industry consolidation, and, in some cases, makeovers. Web access varies; some allow surfing to selected sites only, and others open the entire Web. Prices range from free to $3.75 for 15 minutes.
Get2Net's free service is subsidized by advertisers on big screens, signs, or online ads. Based in Englewood, Colorado, Get2Net has kiosks in 15 U.S. airports, with plans to add 100 more, one-third of them in the South. Plus, its kiosks have a sleek new look: silvery, rounded edges, and brightly colored keyboards.
QuickAID kiosks were renamed CAIS IPORT Internet Stations after their purchase this year by CAIS Internet, a major player in the hotel Internet market (see "Get Connected," starting on page 91). "Our model is providing a combination of kiosks and dataports," says CAIS spokesman Steve Wimsatt. "You can't download files from a kiosk."
Global Digital Media's kiosk in the Philadelphia airport offers wireless Internet service within 500 feet, and the company is targeting Boston-Logan next.
Overall, public Internet terminals will multiply dramatically to about 100,000 in all major U.S. locations by 2002, with many more overseas - much of that growth in airports, according to Summit Research.