Since I will be traveling from Connecticut to New York more frequently now that we are opening a New York City office (Soho here we come!), the need for my being ‘connected’ has never been greater. Up until now I have ‘managed’ remote internet access by ducking into Starbuck’s or other establishments that offer Wi-Fi access – be it paid or free.
The object here is to be 100% connected anytime I want. Yes I am well aware that laptop cards (and iPad’s for that matter) afford nearly universal connection. The cost was off-putting from $ 40/month to over $ 70/month often times with a 2 year contract. Until recently I was not out of the office all that much that I could not get by but those days are over.
This week I was in Raleigh for a day with my high school daughter visiting NC State as one of her prospective colleges. We arrived back at the RDU airport with nearly 2 hours to spare before our flight left. I brought my laptop for a few reasons not the least of which was to log on and pick up email and answer a few longer ones that my handheld was not well suited to do. I found a few wireless networks including one named ‘Free Wi-Fi’. Pretty good signal. Only I could not connect. Even the AT & T signal was good. I could not connect even though I was willing to pay. To say I was frustrated was an understatement.
Yesterday I was in New York and again had a half hour to spare and tried to connect to the internet. I found another ‘Free Wi-Fi’ network. And again I could not connect. I began to think that somebody up there didn’t like me.
Earlier this month I was at the SFO (San Francisco) Airport and was able to log on to their free wireless access with no problem. Why SFO does not charge but LaGuardia, O’Hare and other airports do is a mystery to me. There does not seem to be any consistency in this area at all. Of course it’s all about a revenue opportunity for companies like Verizon, AT & T, and Boingo just to name a few. But how much money could they possibly be making? It’s bad enough that many hotels charge you $ 300 per night and then whack you $ 14 or more a day for internet access. I simply am not in love with living in this a la carte world.
In order for Americans to be more productive there has to be a movement to have a nationwide free internet access system. It could not come soon enough for me. In the meantime I am in the process of getting the wireless all the time access (likely from Virgin who has a very interesting program as noted by David Pogue of the New York Times in a recent post http://nyti.ms/bsOAl5). Their program is no contract and $ 40 per month. I will let you know how it works out.
Free Wi-Fi access. It was a nice dream. Do you use on the go wireless access? How is it working for you?