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Old 01-07-2009, 11:40 PM   #1
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Default BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

BP gas stations are rolling out free internet access eventually to 9,000 potential sites. This could be great for RVers. I suspect that will force others to follow suit and internet access may end up anywhere you stop. AT&T already opened up free internet access to AT&T customers who use their iPhone at McDonalds, Barnes & Noble, Starbucks and major airports and hotels they manage. Iowa interstate rest stops offer free internet access. Many restaurants and truck stops we frequented last year had free access. Most of the Indiana to New York toll road offers free internet access at their stops. It is standard at most public libraries. Pay access at campgrounds might become a thing of the past to stay competitive if this trend continues. It is looking good.

http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/8368
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Old 01-08-2009, 01:19 AM   #2
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

Best news I've heard all year. Would be great for when we travel around this great land of ours.
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:08 AM   #3
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

Sounds great. I hope it is truly free wifi. We saw signs last year about "free wifi" access at Starbucks, but we quickly realized that if we weren't subscribed to AT&T, or didn't have a Starbucks card (we're from Canada, eh?) we'd used or reloaded in the last 30 days for example, there was no free internet. So it isn't really free there. Same at McDonalds. We even asked at a couple of Starbucks and a McDonalds if we could pay for an hour of free wifi, and they said no, or didn't know how, or if it was possible.
If BP does it right, you should be able to pull into their parking area and, while you're gassing up, scan for a "BPwifi" access point router, connect, and you're on the air. No extraneous subscriptions or loyalty cards required. No popups asking you to sign in with your DSL account id or sign up for a loyalty card. I wouldn't even have really minded a few popup ads for use of the service at all. Heck, we'd have paid for some time if it were reasonably priced and available. Finding truly free wifi hotspots is still a challenge, as far as I can see. I think there's a bread company chain (Panera?) that advertises it too, but we didn't see any on our trips last year.
Sorry if I sound a bit skeptical, and no offense intended, and nothing personal, it's just that it was one of my top pet peeves about "free wifi access" signs in the States last year that weren't free. You have to pay to play, one way or another.

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Old 01-08-2009, 02:21 AM   #4
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

That would be great. Our Verizon broadband works pretty well, but wifi is usually faster.
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Old 01-08-2009, 02:40 AM   #5
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
We saw signs last year about "free wifi" access at Starbucks, but we quickly realized that if we weren't subscribed to AT&T, or didn't have a Starbucks card (we're from Canada, eh?) we'd used or reloaded in the last 30 days for example, there was no free internet. So it isn't really free there. Same at McDonalds.
Mike,

That was one of the major reasons I bought the AT&T service iPhone because those places (McDonalds and Starbucks) are free to iPhone users. Even without WiFi in most metro areas and along freeways you have Edge or 3G internet access. Slower, but usable. Panera Bread is free. Around Minneapolis/St. Paul the ubiquitous Dunn Bros. Coffee Shops and the Caribou Coffee Shops are truly free. I have one Dunn Bros. and three Caribou Coffee shops within 2 miles of my house and I am in the outer suburbs of the Twin Cities.
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Old 01-08-2009, 04:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

Davydd,
Absolutely. I understand your reasons for subscribing to AT&T to increase the number of places you can get wifi access. I wish I could subscribe too, but I don't think it's possible because of where I live. I think the best I could do would be a prepaid AT&T phone, and it probably wouldn't work either.
I really just balked at the "free" terminology, when it requires an expenditure/subscription to qualify for their specialized wifi access.
As i said, it's tougher for us "foreigners" to get wifi on the road because we can't always subscribe to a US service to broaden
our options south of the border. When we stop for food or sight seeing, I usually wind up powering up the pc and seeing what's available in the vicinity. Usually not much, unless we get lucky and are near a rest stop or hotel which offers free wifi.
I wonder if a prepaid AT&T plan would get us Starbucks or McDonalds access? The more I think about it, the more I doubt it because there's no contract, but wouldn't there be an account number (phone number?) associated with a prepaid cell phone? That might be worth looking into, I suppose. On another thread about frugal TV/Internet access, it was suggested that a prepaid cell phone from the US is probably the best choice for us Canucks to use down in the States, because if we use our Canadian phones, we get killed with roaming charges.
And again, I meant no offense, and nothing personal by my comments last night.
Thanks for the updated list of truly free hotspotters. Duly noted.
Any idea if BP will be doing their free wifi the same as Starbucks or McDonalds? Just curious.

(a free wifi frustrated) Mike.
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Old 01-13-2009, 12:15 PM   #7
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

This is beginning to look like the real deal, aka free wifi at BP stations. Very nice indeed, if it turns out to be true.
http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/12/11/gas-n-surf/
http://www.infopackets.com/news/interne ... access.htm
http://rwap.usatoday.mlogic3g.com/detail.jsp?key=948689
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Old 01-23-2009, 05:54 PM   #8
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

This free WiFi stuff may just be the tip of the ice berg. The more that is offered the more pressure it will be to compete by other gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, etc. That's why I bought the iPhone. I am getting a lot of use out of it 365 days per year vs. paying for internet access by other means like a more expensive air card solution. We only spent 49 days on the road last year. We will most likely spend more time on the road this year but I doubt it will exceed 90 days or 3 months. Right now I am using the iPhone for weather updates, stock quotes, investment management with my online broker, online banking, news, TV guide, e-mail, looking up restaurants and shops and directions via Google Maps, GPS tracking, Twitter and Facebook. Habits and needs may change on the road. The iPhone works great for that stuff and with some of it, better and more convenient than a laptop computer. The less desirable and more difficult part is the thumb typing to feed back. Reading the stuff is great. There are now over 15,000 apps you can download from the iTunes App Store. I don't even know if I am beginning to tap the potential of this device with so many choices. I do know that Twitter and Facebook use has gone up considerably because of it.
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Old 01-24-2009, 03:34 AM   #9
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

Hi Triple D,
If it were just me, I'd probably go the iPhone or Blackberry route. Although there's only 1 GSM ISP in Canada, so I'd have to pay whatever they decided was fair, and I already know that it's very pricey. As you say, I could do it all, no need for a laptop or any extra internet trolling equipment. I'd just need a home TV plan and I'd be all set. But there's 2 of us. We've done away with the home phone to save a few bucks. We communicate with 2 prepaids. We have cable TV and Internet at home from the same company so that saves us a bit too. It's when we travel that our costs go up. That's what I'm trying to figure out. So we're getting some ideas. I'm thinking it may be possible to use a Blackberry or IPhone on both sides of the border by switching the SIM cards and subscribing to 2 different providers, one in Canada and the other in the US. I'll be looking into that when we next cross the 49th parallel. I'm less interested in the TV solution, as we don't watch that much on the road, but a portable satellite system seems to be a viable possibility as well, I just have to see what's available and what we can subscribe to in the US of A where it's probably less expensive for better choice. I think we'd be able to "see" the same satellites you can see from your place, for example, so that's a possibility. I don't know if it's legal, that's all.

Anyway, many questions for now, very few answers so far.
Thanks for the update on services.
Take care,
Mike.
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Old 01-24-2009, 01:26 PM   #10
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Default Re: BP Gas Stations to Offer Free Internet Access

Portable satellite TV gear seems to be a lot of stuff to carry in a B for the few times you may desire it. If you have an electrical hookup in a campground odds are strong you may have cable reception available as well. If you are boondocking out in the wilderness areas odds are you might just want to eschew TV all together and enjoy the quiet of nature.
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