Kansas City airport officials promise better Wi-Fi

? Kansas City International Airport officials have heard the complaints from travelers about spotty Wi-Fi service and they say they are working to make it better.

The city’s Aviation Department plans to spend $250,000 to completely upgrade Wi-Fi service and make other technological improvements, The Kansas City Star reported.

“We are working to rectify the situation so they can surf the Internet freely and quickly at KCI in the future,” airport spokesman Joe McBride said.

The airport started offering Wi-Fi about a decade ago. Overland Park-based Sprint Co. agreed to pay for and install the necessary infrastructure and customers paid $9.99 for up to eight hours.

When the agreement with Sprint expired, the Aviation Department took over the service and made it free.

Officials say that there have been upgrades since, but not enough to keep up with demand, which has increased dramatically as more people travel with computers and phones they want to use to access the Internet.

The problems are particularly bad in Terminal C, with fewer issues in Terminal B. Part of the challenge is the horseshoe design of the terminals, with thick glass, concrete walls and other infrastructure issues.

Bill Grubb of San Diego was hoping to get some work done while waiting for his flight to take off last week, but he was never able to connect. He called the airport information line to ask if he needed a password, but he was rerouted several times and finally gave up.

Officials hope the planned overhaul will fix that by increasing the number of access points, or hot spots, from six per terminal to 30. The upgrades will be funded by airport revenue from concession sales, parking and other sources and should be ready soon after the new year.