Verizon runs WiFi hotspots. Only, how much?

by Sniffer | posted on 01 December 2004

New York often thinks of itself as a leading this or the best that; so when your Sniffer found himself in the Bad Apple for a conference, it was, naturally, assumed that the New York Hilton would be a stellar example of how to do WiFi hotspots for conference organisers. But no ... there's a Hilton network, but only down in reception.


The Hilton's own hotspot is hot indeed: "$2.95 for 15 minutes, $0.25 each additional 1 minute ... " - I think not. A dollar for four minutes? That's $15 per hour and as I'm here for another 11 hours ... eek! $165 for a day?

The list of WiFi hotspots in the Hilton included (to our great relief) a commercial operator; Verizon. With a happy smile your Sniffer opened up a browser. "You are being connected ... " said the logo. And up came the Verizon sign-in page.

We looked carefully for the "give us money" form. We like to grumble about how much these rapacious hotspot sharks charge for an hour or two online, and so our sniffing pencil was quivering with eagerness.

<1/> All the information you can eat ...

We found a form for logging in, if you were a Verizon broadband customer. The Mouse lives in Croydon and (occasionally) Belmont but has no Verizon broadband at either address. There was a form for "lost password" but that seemed inappropriate. And there was a "contact us" form, which referred us to a free 1-800 number for "tech support" for WiFi.

It turns out that Verizon runs a commercial hotspot service, which doesn't accept new paying customers. It will accept your home phone number, and tell you if you qualify for broadband. It will even give you a month free broadband if you sign up online.

But take money? pah! not them. So question: Who would you regard as the really bad guys - Verizon, or the Hilton?

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