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Storm in a hotel tea-cup over Wi-Fi pricing
Thursday 05 October 2006 22:29:00 by Andrew Ferguson

The availability of Wi-Fi services in hotels is a boon to the business traveler, or people simply taking a short break but want to check their email. The problem in the UK appears to be the price of access to the wireless hotel, ZDNet UK has spotted that the Good Hotel Guide 2007 has had a go at hotels that charge prices like £5 per hour or £20 a day for wireless Internet access. One could perhaps understand charging the £5 per hour for day visitors to a hotel, but for paying guests the pricing does seem steep. As pointed out Wi-Fi is free in many US hotels including the cheap $30 motels that pervade the country, and while construction techniques may differ, e.g. opting for plasterboard walls in the US rather than brick ones, plasterboard is often aluminium lined which kills a wireless signal very easily. It should be pointed out that it is not just the US where hotels are offering free wireless Internet, across Europe chains are offering the service for free to residents.

An updated item presenting a suppliers defence is also on ZDNet UK. While business grade access points that can cope with more users and not crash every day will cost more money than a consumer device, it cannot take many subscribers to a service to start offering payback. It could be said that providing the service for free is adding a small cost to each room, that not all guests will use, but then how many guests make use of the expensive sofa's in the lobby. Its a little like the low-cost airlines, if you are paying a bargain price, then you have to expect to pay for the extras, but very rarely are UK hotels bargain priced.

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