Free WiFi at Iowa interstate rest areas

I have known about free wireless internet at rest areas in Iowa for a few years now, and every time I hear about or use it, the service impresses me. More so, it’s the fact that it shows how forward thinking the state is with providing access to travelers who pass through the state.

iowa rest stop
Photo credit: miss604 on Flickr

For instance, we just stopped at the rest area on I-35 near the Missouri border, in between Lamoni and Decateur. Open up the laptop, find the network, launch a browser, and a couple of clicks through the DOT’s web pages gets you in. We checked our email, uploaded some pictures, Beck made a blog post, and off we went. That made for a twenty minute stop, but the scenery at that particular stop, not to mention near 80F, clear sky weather, made it fairly smooth.

In the time before I moved out of Iowa, I had used this service just a couple of times, and it used to be that you had to setup an account with this service. It was still free, but I’m beginning to think that the number of people who would forget their account information between uses and just sign up for another one because they forgot the previous one probably got out of hand. Kudos to the service for changing that.

During this trip, we’ve been through two major airports, Seattle and Chicago, that had WiFi that you had to pay for. $6.95 for a whole day of access in Seattle isn’t much, but what a pain. Why not give me 90 minutes of unlimited access for 24 hours, and then charge me if I want more? Sure, there are people who might try to abuse the system, but monitor the bandwidth for that, right?

If I have a hour to kill during a layover, I’d love to just pop on and check my email. We just made a 20 minute rest stop in southern Iowa with free wireless, and now we’re back on the road. You’re telling me that airports can’t do that?

That also reminds me, check out what a group of local geeks are doing in Vancouver. is a movement to provide a city wide WiFi network to the metro area. Let’s broaden that to the airports across North America, eh?


3 Replies to “Free WiFi at Iowa interstate rest areas”

  1. Hate to burst your Iowa bubble, but the rest areas in Washington state have had free wifi for awhile too…I’ve never tried them out though since I’m usually heading to an Apple store 😉

  2. I just noticed this last Saturday that the rest stops in WA have free WiFi. And someone on Pownce mentioned that a really remote rest stop in Nevada had free WiFi too.

    I know it’s a scale thing, but I do find it somewhat amusing that most cities can’t for the life of them deploy any kind of successful wireless service, but these remote rest stops on highways provide (typically) great service.

  3. Actually if you check out the WA DOT website you will find that according to them the only thing you can do for free on the rest stop WiFi here in Washington is use the DOT website. For anything else you have to set up an account with Road Connect.

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