If you were one of the just seven people in the first half of the year who went to the Washington State Department of Transportation web page using free wifi from the rest areas along its highways, you're out of luck -- the state dropped the little-used service as of September 1.
The state implemented the service at 28 of its 42 rest areas two years ago. While highway signs promoted it as "free" wifi, in reality only access to the Washington State Department of Transportation website was free; access elsewhere cost $6.95 per day, $29.95 per month, or $2.95 for 15 minutes.
The way it was set up, Parsons Transportation Group and Road Connect Inc. paid for the service, and WSDOT would share a portion of the revenue generated by subscriptions. Because so few people were using the service, the two companies stopped providing it. Parsons also provides wifi on VIA Rail Canada. Road Connect announced in July that it was providing a similar service to two rest areas along California's Highway 99.
Twenty million people visit Washington's rest areas, WSDOT said. The department, which owns the system hardware, said it is looking into how it might use the system in the future to provide electronic messaging at rest areas for road conditions and travel alerts.
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