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Monday, May 17, 2004
Truckers Among Wi-Fi's Early Adopters
Truck drivers in the US and Canada are increasingly using Wi-Fi to stay connected while on the road. According to the Associated Press (AP), 70% of truck drivers own computers and two-thirds have broadband access at home. At truck stops, truckers pay for Wi-Fi by the hour or on a yearly basis for unlimited access.
Flying J offers Wi-Fi service at 180 of its Travel Plazza locations in the US and Canada, selling access for $1.95 for an hour online or $200 for a yearlong subscription. New Plymouth, Idaho-based Truckstop.net charges $250 a year for access at its locations.
An indication of the importance of the truck-stop Wi-Fi market is the recent IBM agreement with Columbia Advanced Wireless and Rocksteady Networks, which rig more than 1,000 truck stops across the U.S. with Wi-Fi. IBM Global Services will deploy the networks using IBM eServer xSeries servers running Linux.
What better group than truck drivers with their lonely hours on the road to be leaders in a new communication medium--and not for the first time. In case you don't remember, they're the people who brought us the CB radio craze back in the 1970s. Long-haul drivers cross boundaries and barriers at every turn. The fact that they are early adopters of new technologies should come as no surprise. Makes you wonder what other emerging trends are moving down our highways in the cabs of those ubiquitous semis.