What's The Most Expensive WiFi You've Seen?

from the ah,-tethering dept

I do a fair bit of traveling and, while I try to avoid it, there are times when I really have no choice but to pay up for WiFi (and why is it always the expensive hotels that charge more for it, while the cheap hotels offer free WiFi?). At times, the prices seem really crazy, but Parker sends over a screenshot of the cost of WiFi that he discovered at Toronto’s International Centre, which seemed a bit extreme: $6.95 for just 30 minutes. Or $99 for a full day. You could get the two day package for a bargain at $159. I’m not sure I want to know what the difference between “Ultra-Lite Wireless” (the prices you see here) and “Extreme Wireless” might be, but it seems doubly ridiculous to think that $99 per day only gets you “ultra-lite” wireless.

Anyway, I don’t think I’ve seen prices like that before, but I’m curious if anyone has any stories that can top that?

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Comments on “What's The Most Expensive WiFi You've Seen?”

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ltlw0lf (profile) says:

Re: Re: I had no idea...

Computer-Aided Design

Heh, I always thought CAD was “Canadian Dinar.” I have a bunch of Dinar from several countries, and their money is always labelled like BHD and IQD, so I figured CAD was just another type of Dinar.

Then again, I got confused when I saw USD. As far as I am aware, the name of money in the US is either “cash” or “plastic”, so United States Dinar doesn’t seem to work.

Phalamir (profile) says:

Free vs paying

My running theory is that cheap hotels give free wireless because they see it as a way to attract customers (like advertising HBO). On the other hand, fancy hotels figure that either (a) their customers will consider the price a small part of the total cost of the trip, and/or (b) they are traveling on business and the expense account will cover it

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Free vs paying

That’s one possibility. The other thing that comes to mind is that (in my experience) expensive hotels would mostly be used by people on company-paid business trips, whereas cheaper hotels would be used by travellers or business people paying out of their own pocket. An employee on a business account wants to be comfortable but doesn’t necessarily care about the price (and wifi can be counted as a legitimate business expense), whereas someone on a budget or spending their own money would more likely go for the cheaper hotel with no extras costs.

That is, the expensive hotels don’t lose anything by charging a premium for their wifi, while a cheap hotel doing so would just send business down to the hotel offering free wifi down the street.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

that really doesn’t make sense. it sounds like a lot of money, but all of that would be recouped fairly quickly without such exorbitant fees. i think the most likely explanation is that it goes with demand. it’s possible that they don’t pay for *that* much bandwidth, so they charge enough that only those that really want to use it, will use it. it keeps demand down. either that, or they just know they can get away with it.

jakerome (profile) says:

Re: It gets better (read: worse)

International Centre Wireless Service Terms and Conditions


The International Centre is the exclusive provider for wired and wireless services for the Facility and has in operation a wireless 802.11 b / g system. The wireless service offers Internet access at varying speeds, servicing exhibitors as well as attendees. The actual maximum bandwidth available depends on how many users are accessing the network simultaneously at any given time. Routers, Streaming Applications, VoIP, DHCP, NAT or Proxy Servers are not allowed with this connection. The International Centre can engineer custom dedicated network(s) to accommodate such special requests. Please call for quote. Wireless is an entry level service ideal for web surfing and checking web based email. The International Centres Wireless Network can be accessed throughout the Facility by using a Wi-Fi compatible 802.11 b / g network card or one of our rental bridge units (limited quantity of bridge units, call for availability). Wireless service is inherently vulnerable to interference from other devices that transmit similar radio frequency signals or that operate within the same frequency spectrum. The International Centre cannot guarantee that interference will not occur. The International Centre does NOT recommend wireless service for mission critical services such as product presentation or demonstrations. For demonstrations or to present products and other mission critical activity, via the Internet, the International Centre highly recommends Customer(s) purchase hardwired services. If you are unsure which of our products will best suit your needs, please call our Telecommunications office at (905) 678-5615. Restrictions and Special Requests. Due to the extensive coverage the International Centre provides for the Facility, NO Customer provided access points are authorized for use within the Facility without the Telecommunications Departments prior approval. Customers who attempt to set up their own wireless system can interfere with the International Centres Wireless Network. The International Centre requires all Customers showcasing their wireless products to contact the International Centre 21 days prior to the show move-in so that we may engineer a cohesive network operating without interference. Misuse of any wireless service may result in service interruption to yourself or other Customers and can lead to disconnection of the Customers equipment. Unsecured Wireless Networks are not tolerated within the Facility. Your service will be disconnected if you are found to be broadcasting an unsecured wireless signal. ALL WIRELESS ACCESS POINTS NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE INTERNATIONAL CENTRE ARE PROHIBITED. By using or activating an account, I hereby attest that I understand the limitations and vulnerabilities of the wireless service provided by the International Centre. I also understand that if I use this service for any reason including, but not limited to, demonstrating, showcasing or presenting my product(s), the International Centre will not be responsible for possible interference that I may experience. Refunds will not be given for service issues found not to be the fault of the International Centre.

aaa says:

I keep a cheap dialup account for traveling — it’s still the only way to access the internet from many remote backwoods areas. There are many dialup providers to choose from for around $5/month (w/hours limited to 100 or 150 per month). The best price I’ve found is 1access.net, which charges $3.33/month for 150 hrs/month when prepaid for a year.

Dialup also makes a handy backup for those times when the hotel’s router is down.

One a side note, it seems that dialup accounts are similar to Hotel Wi-Fi regarding the fact that price has little correlation to quality. In my experience the $5/month dialup accounts are essentially no different than the $25/month dialup accounts.

Paul Renault (profile) says:

Bogus arguments abound!

I read the reddit comments by the installer. To sum up: bigger hotels have to install more equipment than smaller hotels because they have more rooms, so their installations cost more.

OK, fine…but they also have more rooms! So they have more income! The better question to ask: do larger hotels have to have more equipment per room than smaller hotels? I’ll skirt the obvious observation that larger hotels tend to charge more per room.

(It’s like the argument about why you can’t have people hand-counting votes in the USA like we do in Canada. Yes, the USA has ten times the population so there are more votes to count. But the USA has ten times the population, so there are more people which can count the votes.)(Complicated-er ballots notwithstanding, eh.)

Next thing you know, they’ll claim that they have to charge extra for the bed sheets – because they have to have more washers and dryers than small hotels.

Besides: 20 switches to service 120 access points? What am I missing? Maybe they need to stop buying their equipment at Staples or Best Buy and get switches with more than eight ports.

While I’m not a network installer, my customers have moderately-complicated LANs which I have to work on sometimes. They’ll often have 120 computers hard-wired in and two wifi access points. Three or four switches, two routers, a dial-up modem and a phone, data backup equipment, file servers, a monitor and keyboard, and two UPSes. It all fits in a cabinet 3ftx3ftx7ft.

Large hotels only need: a router, three or four switches spread out throughout the hotel (to reduce cabling), some small UPSes, high-power wifi access points, and proper antennas.

The reddit commenter mentionned $300/night. At that rate, I’d demand that Internet access be included in the room rate, just like at a Howard Johnson, instead of gouging the customers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Either you forgot the /s or just are clueless regarding money rates, as The Canadian Dollar is only a few cents less than the US Dollar. Not to long ago like 2 months or so it was actually worth more than the US Dollar.

A few years from now after all the Federal Reserve quantitative easing and other monetizing of the US Federal Debt the Canadian Dollar will be worth 10 times more than the US Dollar.

Mike Raffety (profile) says:

Re: Re: You've clearly never taken a cruise

Have you tried this service on the cruise ship? It’s not high speed — it’s about the speed of dial-up, and of course, horrible latency. I brought a laptop with a local mail client (Thunderbird, of course), and downloaded all my e-mail in a batch, wrote responses off-line, then went back on-line to upload all my outgoing mail. Kept the connection time to just a couple minutes at a time.

btr1701 (profile) says:


I just spent a few days in Vegas, stayed at the luxury Vdara Hotel in the City Center complex, and was surprised to find that not only is their wifi completely free, but they don’t even have any login screen where they match your name and room number to at least verify you’re a guest there.

Kind of surprising, since as Mike mentioned, usually the high-end hotels are the ones who really gouge on the amenities. It’s usually your Residence Inns and Hampton Suites that give away the wifi for free.

Skippy T. Mut says:

Sharaton Hotel

I stayed at the Sheraton in Atlantic City and although it wasn’t more expensive than what you show here it was one of the more ridiculous things I’d ever heard of. They want $10day for wifi in my room but if I went down to the first or second floor common areas it was free. Just seems weird to me to try and charge in one area but have it free in another area. Are executives everywhere really this stupid?

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: Sharaton Hotel

A resort in Palm Springs only made wifi available for conference/convention attendees. You had to have a code they provide when you show up for your conference. But if you were just a hotel guest there on vacation, no wifi for you. You still got internet service, but you could only access it through a physical ethernet connection.

Still can’t figure out why they would give one kind of customer access to wifi but not another.

Joshy says:

LOL one hundred a day is cheap. Try getting internet for less than a thousand a day per user on any trade show floor. I’ve paid and using the Internet successfully is even a further challenge.

A quick googling showed these two articles: Burstein cites the example of the San Diego Convention Center, which charges $1,195 for Internet access with one IP address and $150 per each extra IP address. http://www.masshightech.com/stories/2011/04/11/weekly10-Trade-Show-Internet-sees-growth-in-low-cost-show-floor-Internet-access.html


If you are attending a typical trade show and want Internet access during your three day stay, you need to fork over $1,200. And if you decide to buy that connection at the last minute, your fee would be a whopping $1,800. A super-fast connection could set you back over $10,000.

Anonymous Coward says:

Yet another example how Canadians are Raped by ISPs. We built the first digital networks back in the 1970s, but all of our communications are regulated by a government agency full of corporate shills that pander to the absurd demands of big telecom. In return, the government lackeys get huge salaries from the telecoms as soon as they “retire”.

Competition, please drop by Canada when you get a chance. I think you would be shocked by what you find.

Holly Crabtree says:

Wifi On Cruises

Cruise lines are definitely some of the most expensive Wifis available; costing up to $0.95 per minute.

The only thing I can say is don’t use pay as you go while on board, else you could be spending hundreds of dollars per day.

Info taken from here.

Even with some of the packages they offer, you could be spending your day handing out money willy-nilly.

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