The NYT has an article dealing with a topic that has had me scratching my head for some time. Why is there such a wide disparity between hotels and their internet service?
Five years ago, the main challenge for data-hungry business travelers was finding a hotel that offered high-speed Internet access. Then came a shift to wireless and even free connections.
But these days, the top priority for many is simply getting consistent, reliable access to the Internet, regardless of the cost or type of connection. That, it turns out, is not as easy as one might think.
About 5 years ago, I stayed in a hotel in Medford, Oregon that had wifi. It wasn't uniform, but it existed. It was free. Free, in the middle of nowhere.
This last year I stayed at the Lowe's in Philly and the Marco Polo Gateway in Hong Kong. Both required me to spend over $10 a day for internet access. Both had a tiny 3' Cat-5 cable sticking out of the wall. Forcing me to sit in the uncomfortable desk chair for hours on end. The Lowes Cat-5 was so short it forced my computer to sit at a 45 degree angle at the back of the desk.
Oddly, as many biz travelers know, the worst hotels have the best Internet service. It's usually free. It's usually Wifi.
One of the better services I had was in Orange County where the hotel had very powerful Wifi and gave me a login and password that lasted until I checked out. I could use it anywhere in the hotel, but the network was still relatively secure. That was rare for a nice hotel.
Mostly, it's the Holiday Inn Expresses or similar that have good, free and painless wifi. But if I'm going somewhere for a few weeks, I don't want to stay in a Holiday Inn Express. However, I've taken to calling hotels before my trip and asking them what they mean by "Internet" in their list of amenities.
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