Avis Wants To Be Travelers' ISP

from the on-the-road-again dept

These days, when you’re planning a trip, there are some considerations you need to make in addition to simply securing adequate food and lodging. If you don’t yet have an EV-DO card, and need reliable internet access, then that requires another level of preparation. You’re lucky if you find a quality hotel that won’t charge through the nose just for the privilege of staying tethered to an ethernet cable if you want to stay online. And when you’re out and about, the task is even more daunting. To help fill in the gaps, Avis Rent A Car is offering to rent out boxes that provide a mobile WiFi connection while you’re zipping down the road, a la a Junxion Box. While families might be interested in renting the device, as a way to keep kids entertained, the target is the business user keeping a laptop on the passenger seat, and checking email at red lights (just wait until the anti-yakking while driving crowd gets a hold of this one). The price, $10.95 per day, sounds steep if it’s just limited to in-car use. It’s not entirely clear from the way the story is written — but if the device can be taken from the car and used elsewhere, this could be more interesting to some travelers, potentially taking some money away from hotels. However, if it’s only for in-car use, that seems incredibly limiting. Still, as mobile internet options continue to abound, from free WiFi spots to the aforementioned EV-DO, it’s hard to see Avis’ box going far in the market.

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Comments on “Avis Wants To Be Travelers' ISP”

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Vincent Clement says:

You’re lucky if you find a quality hotel that won’t charge through the nose just for the privilege of staying tethered to an ethernet cable if you want to stay online.

Lucky? Huh? Plenty of hotels and motels offer free internet access. Holiday Inn Express offers free internet access. I have found their hotels to be of excellent quality. Or you talking about overpriced hotels in the downtown of large cities?

Andrew Pollack (profile) says:

EV-DO vs. Hotel Hotspots vs. Avis

Here’s the deal — from a tech guy who travels alot.

If you pay Verizon 60 dollars a month, you get a card that gives you speeds very comparable to DSL in or near most cities of the US and comparable to “good” dialup in most of the hinterland.

My testing has proven this to be faster in most cases than the hotel wifi services, as well as more reliable. In addition, it’s more flexible (not tied to the hotel room) and more secure (sort of — at least with ev-do you always know what you’re connecting to, and from there can make a vpn link to home base).

At sixty bucks, as few as four or six times using wifi hotspots in a month would make that a more expensive option. These run 10 to 15 bucks a day — and are way less convenient.

Downsides to ev-do really come down to upload speeds (which are slower than wifi hotspots, so if you’re trying to send someone a big file it’s not great).

cellular deadspots are less common that areas with no wifi for now anyway.

For me, and for any business traveler that knows about it, it’s a no-brainer.

Cheap bastard says:

Information wants to be free

What I’ve discovered, is that if a hotel can get away with charging, they will. And if there is a tech conference in the hotel, their wireless becomes useless anyway, free or not.

What I do is bring my Cingular phone with the $20 unlimited multimedia feature and a bluetooth adapter for the laptop. Just turn off graphics in Firefox and surf away. It’s great for finding White Castles on your route.

In the hotel, I’ll put an external wireless router in the window running dd-wrt and connect it to the crappy hotel down the street. While I’m enjoying the sauna and hot tub at the hotel that charges for wireless, I still get wireless for free.

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