USA Today reports that the demand for broadband internet access is leading some hotels to reconsider the way they offer it.
The problem, the story suggests, is that so many people are using their laptops and other Wi-Fi enabled devices when they check into hotels that it is putting pressure on whatever systems the hotels have, raising costs for the hotels. (Four out of ten travelers are carrying two Wi-Fi-enabled devices, and 25 percent are carrying three or more.) They're using the devices for a lot more than email - they're downloading data, pictures, music and video, and they're complaining when the online traffic slows things down.
The possible solutions vary, according to USA Today. One approach may be to put a limit on free internet access, perhaps putting a limit on how many devices or minutes a guest can use before charges kick in. And another may be to offer tiered access - for free, things are going to move slowly, but greater bandwidth may be available for a fee.
There is, of course, another option - and some hotel chains are simply boosting their bandwidth and continuing to offer it for free, because free internet is almost always at the top of guests' want lists.
It always has been one of great mysteries of the road that the cheaper the hotel, the more likely it is that internet access will be free. The more expensive the hotel, the pricier the internet access.
As someone who spends a lot of time on the road - and depends on internet access to get his job done each day - I have to tell you that I have gotten to the point where I am willing to take the up-charge in order to get faster and more efficient access so I can reduce the likelihood of frustration. In fact, as I write these words, it is 3:17 am PDT ... and I paid extra for faster access because it just seemed like a cost of doing business.
I'd prefer it be free. But I'd also like to be able to hit a curve.