Paid high speed internet that doesn’t work. It’s bad enough that the costs for access in many hotels and most airports are roughly classifiable as highway robbery, given that you’re typically forced to purchase 24 hours of service when you probably are only physically able to consume an hour or so. But when you pay their protection money…err, connectivity fees and it doesn’t work? Infuriating.
This happens to me all the time now; maybe it’s because more and more consumers are waking up to the attraction of having connectivity to kill time otherwise spent listlessly paging through US Weekly’s. Or maybe it’s because the venues are too busy counting their money to actually make sure the network is still up and running. Either way, it’s a crime.
Last Saturday at LaGuardia, as an example, I dropped 7 and change for 24 hours of wireless (of course) to get some work done and actually called myself lucky that it wasn’t 9 something. The problem? The connection worked for about 10 minutes and then cut out. Would not reissue me an IP. Booted into Windows just in case? Same deal. I tried to reconnect every 5 minutes until I took off and never got an IP. There’s 7 bucks that was well spent.
And now it’s the same deal here at the Stamford Marriott. They’re charging me an extra $10 per day for the privilege of using their wired network – can’t even get around to offering wireless, I guess – and it’s not working. I spent 15 minutes this morning convinced it was my fault, releasing/renewing IPs and so on before calling down to the front desk and being told that “they were having some problems with the network,” and, “no, we have no idea when it’ll be fixed.”
If the service was free, I wouldn’t say a word. But if you’re going to charge me absurd fees for my connectivity you’d better be providing some absurd uptime and service. James Robertson may be right that these fees will be with us forever, but I still occasionally hope that someone like Spitzer looks at the practice of charging for wireless right now and hammers someone. The fees are essentially an affirmation of why monopolies are bad for consumers.
And that really grinds my gears.1
- Yes, Family Guy fans, that is a reference. [back]