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god bless TA
i'm ready for my close up mr demille
soopageek
Right before I broke my leg, I discovered that Travel Centers of America (TA) was in the process of launching their own WiFi network. For the past year I've been using Flying J's network becuase it was available and reliable. I decided after all this hullabaloo about satellite internet to check and see how their network was coming along, because as I recalled, they were promising to have most of their locations online by June. Well, they've moved it back some (July), but their total list of spots has grown remarkably, including a lot of places I frequent. The cool thing is, they are allowing you to use your loyalty points you gain from fueling toward the purchase of time on the network. This is beautiful.

This gives me some interesting options to stay with WiFi. The most obvious is that I could essentially use TA's service for free by utilizing the loyalty points. The other option is that I could still pay for my access with Flying J, giving me greater flexibility with no (or very minimal) additional cost. Alternately, I could use the TA network on a regular basis and use both Flying J and Pilot's WiFi networks on as-need basis (usually around $5 or $6 for a 24-hour period) rather than paying the annual or monthly fee.

The other interesting thing in the truckstop WiFi sector is that they are sharing their networks. Flying J seems to be doing the most of it, offering "extended area" hotspots at Pilots and TAs and I'm sure as TA's customer base grows, they will reciprocate. It wouldn't surpise me if someday down the road, the "big 3" truckstops don't merge their networks into a single, profit-sharing business model and then sell it off to a third-party corporation.

I guess my decision has been made, I'll stick with WiFi until one of the phone companies gets their national broadband services off the ground.

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