Home & Office

But Mr Concierge, step outside and it's free!

weekly roundup This week, ZDNet Asia's sister site, Silicon.com, kicked off a campaign in the U.
Written by Eileen Yu, Senior Contributing Editor

weekly roundup This week, ZDNet Asia's sister site, Silicon.com, kicked off a campaign in the U.K. to lobby for the hotel industry to provide better Internet services and at less exorbitant prices.

Through its "Fair Wi-Fi Campaign", Silicon.com is hoping to highlight the problem of hotels handling business travelers like "cash cows" and to garner support from the public and other industry players.

David Laurie, CEO of ISP Madasafish, gave his seal of approval: "It seems hotels within the U.K. are determined to maximize profit rather than permit guests to benefit from improvements in [broadband] cost, accessibility, speed and connectivity." Ben Booth, CTO of market researcher Ipsos, also suggests that £5 (US$9.8) per day is all he's willing to pay.

Frankly, if it wasn't for the campaign, I would have thought nothing of forking out between US$10 and US$20 a day--only because that's what I've become accustomed to paying when I travel to the U.S. or Europe for work. In fact, I paid 11.99 euros (US$15.5) per day for Wi-Fi access at a hotel in Barcelona, Spain, in February last year.

At the rates they're charging, it's clear some hotels still view the provision of broadband connection as a premium service. But, if they persist with that perception, they'll definitely run out of favor as a rest-stop for business travelers.

In the corporate world today, people no longer ask if a company has e-mail or Internet access--just like they no longer ask if there's electricity or water in an office building.

When businesses realize that they're paying exorbitant charges for Internet connection every time their employees travel for work, they'll start looking for hotels where such services are available for free or at a more reasonable rate. And those that insist on ripping off their guests will be left with empty rooms.

Besides, with the growing number of public hotspots offering free wireless access these days, guests only need to step outside the hotel if they want to avoid paying hefty Internet access fees.

How much are you willing to pay for broadband connection at a hotel?

In other news this week, Asian companies look deeper into outsourcing while NetApp turns to the world's second most populous nation for engineering talent. Also, Dell Computer welcomes back its namesake, and floppies finally run out of steam at one U.K. retailer.

Editorial standards