I have been traveling quite a bit lately and have had to rely on public Internet access. Much to my dismay I have found that most hotels and airports still do not offer free Internet access. Why isn't airport and hotel Internet access a standard free feature?
Airport Internet Access
I feel that having to pay for Internet access in airports is unconscionable since travelers are a captive audience and are only in the concourse for a short period of time. I understand it is a business however the price is manifestly unjustice as travelers pay between $5 and $21 for short term access. I would think airports would want to make concourses friendlier to business travelers by offering a complementary service. There are quite a few airports that have taken the lead in this movement as shown in this running list of airports with free wifi. These free wifi airports are most likely supported by advertising. I think most people would look at a few advertisements in return for free Internet access. I just hope that other airports like O’Hare Airport (the busiest airport in the world) and Dulles near Washington, DC would look to please its travelers with free wifi soon.
Hotel Internet Access
Hotels are also guilty of ridiculous markup on Internet access. Hotels do not have you pay for television, water or electric access but Internet connectivity has not yet been lumped into the category of necessities. I would definitely place it on my list of hotel room must-haves. I stayed at the Bellagio in Las Vegas over the summer and recall paying close to $20 a day for an Internet connection and another $20 for
a T1 an Ethernet cable. A recent stay at another luxury resort surprised me with similar $10 a day Internet access charges. In both hotels I paid the Internet access charges but I feel these charges should be rolled in as a complementary service.
Other Access Options
There are other Internet access options if the connectivity is as much a part of your life as breakfast. Verizon, Cingular and Sprint among others offer wireless cards and access for between $40-$60 a month which is a steal if you are always on the go and paying for Internet access. Additionally, you could try and find free wifi in your area as I have written previously.
Bottom-line: The Internet is a series of tubes and is here to stay - therefore it should be looked at in the same light as television service since for many travelers Internet access is a necessity.