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FCC Chairman Martin Favors Wi-Fi Precedent For Boston Airport

Addressing a Wi-Fi ban at Boston's Logan Airport that could set a nationwide precedent, FCC chairman Kevin Martin is recommending that the ban be dropped, according to the Reuters news agency.

Specifically, Martin is said to favor allowing Continental Airlines and other Wi-Fi providers -- both actual and potential -- at the airport to use their own Wi-Fi service at Logan. The news comes one week after emotional ceremonies at the airport to commemorate the victims of the 9/11 terror attack. Two planes that crashed into New York's World Trade Towers, Amercan Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 originated at Logan.

The Massachusetts Port Authority, which operates Logan, had raised security and safety questions, claiming that public safety links could be compromised by Wi-Fi hotspots operated by Continental, American Airlines, United Parcel Service and others.

However, Craig Mathias, a principal at wireless mobile consultancy Farpoint Group, Thursday noted that Wi-Fi hotspots can interfere with each other, but represent no known danger to public safety networks.

"(Wi-Fi) is absolutely not a danger," he said. "If there could be a problem it would be on the other end." He explained that other networks could interfere with Wi-Fi networks and he indicated such interference would be rare.

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