LAX Free WiFi Deal Approved By LA City Council (UPDATE)

Angelenos flying through LAX could soon be looking at sunny skies when it comes to free wifi at the airport.

LA City Council’s Trade, Commerce, and Tourism Committee voted 2 to 1 on Monday to approve the idea of offering free wireless Internet for patrons of LAX by Jul. 16, reports Marina Del Rey Patch. So far, the plan includes providing 45 minutes of free Internet access to passengers in exchange for viewing a 15- to 30-second commercial.

However, the contract must still be approved by the complete 15-member City Council, in a process that will certainly be dramatic. The contract came under scrutiny ever Jun. 4, when the Board of Airport Commissioners -- which supervises LAX -- approved a deal with Florida-based company Advanced Wireless Group LLC.

Last week, the City Council halted the plan amid concerns that the Commissioners gave the contract to AWG LLC without acknowledging bids from other providers, like the LA-based company Boingo.

The fight over the contract, which won with a bid of $633,333, might seem petty to some. LA Observed points out that the bid is meager compared to the million-dollar contracts into which LAX normally enters.

Regardless, LAX customers should hope that the debacle gets sorted out soon. The Contra Costa Times notes that if this deal doesn’t go through, all WiFi capabilities for LAX patrons will end by Jul. 19, when T-Mobile’s contract for paid wireless access expires.

The City Council will most likely vote on the deal today.

UPDATE: The LA City Council voted 11 to 1 to uphold the contract with Advanced Wireless Group, LLC, meaning that free WiFi will indeed be coming to LAX in July, reports the Contra Costa Times.

The one dissenting vote came from Council member Joe Buscaino, who has consistently opposed the manner in which the contract was negotiated. He told the LA Daily News that while he wants free WiFi, “There’s at least one other company out there willing to give us a better deal.”