Monday, October 17, 2005

Hotel Pillory - no free WiFi - no WiFi - no Internet at all 

Jeff started to pillory hotels not offering free WiFi - good idea, but let's first start with hotels not offering ANY Internet connectivity at all. As posted here, I was last week in Den Haag speaking at a conference on the Future of VoIP.

I stayed the night before at the NOVOTEL CENTRAAL in Den Haag. I asked at the reception if there is Internet access in the hotel and the lady happily nodded and started to explain that there is an additional jack beside the phone where I can plug-in my modem for dial-up ...

Since I never used the modem on my laptop since purchase two years ago and not wanted to start this hassle now, I said: "No, I mean broadband." She said: " oh yes, there is a T-Mobile hotspot also".

Ouch, I never used a T-Mobile hotspot in my life, for three reasons:
1. In most cases it did not work at all
2. In the rare cases it worked, I considered it too expensive
3. If I really needed it and decided to use it regardless of price, I could not sign-in.

And so it was: I detected the signal and also associated, got an IP-address, but was not able to get to the welcome page (so I never will know how much they wanted to rip me off).

Anyway, I am in a civilized country and the proud owner of a red Vodafone PCMCIA card, so what is the problem? The card searched very long for a network (it did not find a Vodafone network, shortly displayed a KPN network and when I tried to connect, the SW showed the error message I know from former experiences requires a reboot of the lap-top. After the reboot the card decided to be offended and did not show any networks at all for the rest of the evening.

Interestingly my mobile phone showed a strong signal from T-Mobile, but when I tried to connect via the phone (with USB, not bluetooth - not this again ;-), the connection was rejected.
So I was stranded, connectivity wise - no, no modem, I am not an addict, there a limits ;-)

Of course one cannot blame the hotel for being located in a wireless blind spot in the center of Den Haag, 200 meters from the Dutch parliament, and also for Dutch mobile operators being incompatible with the rest of the world.

Some people also say I do not understand business models, which may be true somehow, and definitely in this case:

how to make business with a product that does not work?

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