Recently I was at the new Bangalore International Airport (BIA) waiting for my flight. Since this airport had free Wi-fi connectivity for passengers, I thought of checking my email to pass time.
I switched on my laptop and tried to connect to BIA’s Wi-fi access point (I believe the SSID is “BIAL WIFI”), but could not. Tried a couple of times more, but still no luck.
I then tried all the other options except the obviously paid ones, but to no avail. Well, that sucked!
I then made my way to the Information Desk (a refreshing change from the older airport, this one actually works) and asked why I was not able to connect to the airport Wi-fi.
She informed me that Wi-fi at BIA is no longer free. The earlier free Wi-fi has been replaced by Tata Indicom’s Wi-fi which obviously isn’t free, and which is why I never tried it. Although strangely, the BIA website still seems to suggest that they provide free Wi-fi. Guess they need to get their site updated.
Ok, before you get all sad, here’s a bit of good news. Apparently the Tata Indicom Wi-fi service is still free for the first 15 minutes, but after that you need to pay to continue to use it. So technically you still have free Internet, but only for 15 minutes now.
I’m not sure why this happened. Maybe it’s due to the lure of making more money by tapping all possible options, or maybe BIA thought it was a security risk to be running their own Wi-fi network. Or perhaps the operational expenses were too much. Either way, bad luck for those of you who’re gonna be spending long hours at the airport. Because unlike Mumbai airport, this is just a small airport with nothing much to do if you’re alone.
I guess free Wi-fi in Indian airports was a dream that was too good to last for long.