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updated: 6/22/2012 6:19 PM

Chicago airports getting free Wi-Fi

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Free Internet access to at least some websites is on the horizon at both O'Hare and Midway airports.

Chicago Aviation Department officials announced plans to begin offering travelers free Wi-Fi access to select websites within 30 to 45 days at the airports.

Plans are still in the works to initiate unlimited free web access that people could use for short periods of time, officials said. That would allow travelers to quickly access email without having to pay the $6.95 daily charge for unlimited Internet access.

A deal with the current Internet provider, Boingo Communications, would allow travelers unlimited access to certain websites. Chicago Aviation Department spokeswoman Tammy Chase said news, sports, travel, shopping and gaming websites would be among those offered.

Boingo has provided Internet access to travelers at the two major airports since 2005. The current contract with Boingo, which pays the city about $1 million a year, expires in 2015, Chase said.

"We recognized that our passengers' needs are changing," she said. "More people have tablets these days and our phones aren't what phones were in 2005."

The Wi-Fi service is available throughout both airports, Chase said, not just in certain areas.

Representatives from Boingo did not return calls seeking comment about the new service.

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