Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Coin-Operated Wireless

As opposed to a coin-operated internet kiosk
  (+22)(+22)(+22)
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Airports generally have two types of internet access available:

1. Internet Kiosk: Drop in some coins and you get to use the terminal for a period of time.

2. Wifi zone with detailed credit-card sign-up forms

I propose a simple hybrid. The coin/cash collector on those internet kiosks can sometimes print a receipt. I propose each receipt has a unique wireless password so you can you your OWN phone/tablet/laptop for the duration of the purchased access -- without anything more complex than using the password.

not_only_but_also, Jul 14 2011

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       This should be easily done. My county library has a machine that prints out a temporary username and password for wireless access after the librarian sees a current library card. Making that coin-op should be trivial. And very handy. [+]
baconbrain, Jul 14 2011
  

       You leave the wifi open and use a form of magic software that asks for a passowrd - just like in hotels.
saedi, Jul 15 2011
  

       The system I'm working through at the moment just creates temporary user accounts on a *nix system. They create a batch of a couple hundred accounts (about a month's worth), then hand out user IDs/passwords; each account expires at midnight of the day it's first accessed.
lurch, Jul 15 2011
  

       My library lets users access wifi with individual passwords though some piece of cisco hardware on the wall. I imagine there are roughly 25 users at any given time. Not sure how scaleable it is though.
bob, Jul 17 2011
  

       This is a GREAT idea. I know nothing about computers, but I'm pretty damn sure that issuing serial passwords is a simple if-then function. Gimme to it the next time I travel.
nomocrow, Jul 19 2011
  

       BTW, bun. Did I mention that this was a great idea? I travel with $40 in quarters; I my not need them on any given trip, but they're like cigarettes in prison if I do.
nomocrow, Jul 19 2011
  

       At the cost of a few paying customers who might cheat, use 1 password and change it daily.
Ling, Jul 19 2011
  

       [Ling] For that idea, you should apply for a social psychology grant to study cooperation and rule- abiding in different settings. Are, for example, perfect strangers in an an airport less likely to share the password than people who see each other every day in Starbucks? Are Osties more, or less likely to share the password than their (former) West German counterparts? etc.
mouseposture, Jul 19 2011
  

       Password sharing: Individual user passwords at e.g. T-Mobile hotspots are used to pair MAC addresses to user accounts; from then on, it just works off the computer's MAC address. (This is different from the Wifi network security that people typically use at home.) You can change your MAC address, but it's a hassle. So, this is doable.   

       As a hotspot provider, why bother with the extra effort of dealing with coins if you can just do everything online via credit-card signup?   

       That existing terminal providers have not widely added wireless stations to their terminals is less easy to explain.
jutta, Jul 19 2011
  
      
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