free wifi

Internet speed expectations…

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We all live on the internet now, be it for email, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever, it is now almost as important as food and water to some people!

So when you go somewhere different, the speed or accessibility of internet access is an issue. I certainly have got to know over the years where the ‘dead spots’ are on the Vodafone network – sadly far to large and numerous in my experience! We have recently moved to EE at work so it will be interesting to see how this compares – I have high hopes!

IMG_2784Part of the reason for the move was to get the higher 4G speeds, and I have certainly seen 50mb download speeds since the move which is pretty impressive by anyones standards.

So, if the mobile networks can provide this for us on average for £10 a month (excluding the handset cost), why is paid wireless in most hotels etc so incredibly poor, and expensive?

This week I have stayed in a Premier Inn, the cost of wifi for 24 hours was £3 – not a lot on the face of it – but see the speed test screen shot, I wasn’t getting much for my £3! Surely it is possible to give a decent connection speed? At home I have 152mb download speeds through Virgin Media – I will let you do the maths as to how much quicker that is…..

My experience of wifi in the USA and even in Europe has always been good, why can’t we sort this out? The only place I have had really good wifi speeds in the UK is on the London underground platforms – and that is provided by Virgin (there is a theme developing here).

We need hotels and pubs to realise that simply ‘providing wifi’ isn’t enough – it has to be useable!

Free WIFI

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20130725-211214.jpgOne of the things (there are many) which has struck me over the last two weeks while in America is how they have improved both their mobile phone networks and their wifi availability. It was not so long ago that Europe was way ahead of the USA in terms of mobile data and speeds of networks. However, I have seen 4G on my iPhone more often than not in both New York and Florida, and it has never dropped below 3G coverage.

Now I am aware from my travels in Europe that in the UK we don’t do as well for coverage as most European countries (and certainly not as well as the mobile networks lead us to believe). But I did not expect such amazing coverage in America.

To add to this however – and to really highlight the difference with the UK is the availability of free wifi – it is literally everywhere. In New York most large stores offer it for their customers, plus there are areas in certain parks that have free wifi also – it is therefore almost impossible to not have a good signal. But more importantly as a traveller it reduces your data roaming costs hugely!

And Florida is a similar story – restaurants, shops, malls, even Disney offer free wifi! They obviously ‘get it’ – providing free internet access makes the whole experience better for all involved (especially the males who are following their wives around!).

So the next time you hear the Government telling you we are well provided for with broadband speed and access, don’t believe them. We are years behind!