But what do they charge?

February 11th, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

New Zealand is ranked second worldwide for percentage of offering internet access, according to a survey.

The United States came first in the survey of more than 700,000 hotels listed on hotel comparison website trivago, with 89 per cent of its hotels offering internet via wi-fi or ethernet cable.

New Zealand followed with 82 per cent and Romania came third with 78 per cent.

Australia was ranked surprisingly low at 16th with 66 per cent of hotels offering internet, trivago said.

Almost every hotel or motel I’ve encountered now has Internet access. That’s not the important stat to me.

The important stat is do they charge for it, and how much.

Sadly New Zealand is woeful there. Many hotels have a daily charge of around $40 for Internet access. That’s equal to $1,200 a month. When I travel overseas, generally the Internet access is free. I now just use tether to my mobile phone when travelling domestically, but I feel sorry for tourists who don’t have this option and may face such outrageous charges.

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16 Responses to “But what do they charge?”

  1. AceMcWicked (10 comments) says:

    So what do you propose is done about it because I can’t for a second imagine you’d favour any form of mandatory minimum code enforced by the Government or local body making wifi a requirement. Or even breaking up the massive hotel chains that dominate the market. Or admit market failure. Or anything.

    [DPF: I propose travel websites include the cost of Internet access on their sites, so people can book hotels that include this in the main tariff. Use compeitive pressure to get rid of them - as has worked in other countries]

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  2. peterwn (2,935 comments) says:

    Seems Sky TV is more important to hotel/ motel customers than internet.

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  3. Harriet (4,010 comments) says:

    “….The important stat is do they charge for it, and how much….”

    With respect, I don’t think so.

    It depends on the market segment that is being catered for………..NZ needs to get away from backpackers and Rings fans and attract more wealthy tourists……..as there is no profit in catering to poor people……..poor wages are then more likely to be paid also.

    Backpackers eat noodles and drink bottled water. That’s most of their diet most days. And now you want them to be given near free internet? Why?

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  4. Peter (1,468 comments) says:

    The market sorts it out.

    I don’t choose Hotels that don’t include wi-fi (demand signal), and if I’m forced to, I tether. Overseas, I buy a local data simcard, as I’m sure many tourists do here.

    The other Hotels will react eventually, or see reduced custom as a result. If, on the other hand, most people don’t feel free wifi is essential, then the market reacts to that, too.

    No state force required. Most people get what they want.

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  5. AceMcWicked (10 comments) says:

    I can’t help feeling the market failure is not with the hotel chains but with New Zealand’s oligarchic telecommunications companies – I would be interested to see the packages they offer hotel chains versus what is available overseas and see if it is even viable for New Zealand hotels to offer free internet.

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  6. tvb (3,939 comments) says:

    I guess hotels are catering for the business traveller who can simply add it to their bill until some sharp accountant tells them to tether. Tourists get caught as well but a local sim should fix that.

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  7. Ed Snack (1,535 comments) says:

    I rarely stay at hotels, but most Motels have wireless and all but one of those I stayed at recently give you a certain minimum level free. Admittedly this was often as little as 100 Mb (nominally priced at $10 as well, but given away for the first one anyway), but as long as one stayed away from streaming videos it seemed enough. They happily provided two passcodes as well for two people with devices. Note that the exception was a “Holiday Park” with motel units attached and they charged $7 for 200 Mb, which was excessive IMHO, especially given the poor reception and frequent drop outs. That opinion was conveyed to the management who refunded the charges; which was duly appreciated.

    It seems to me that there is certainly some cost associated with providing wireless, not the least the administration and maintenance of security, so some minor charge would seem reasonable. Something like, say $2 per GB; ultimately the cost has to be covered somewhere, and if it’s not charged explicitly then it is “concealed” in the room charge or elsewhere. I’d rather see it so if for some reason I didn’t use it I don’t pay for it.

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  8. BeeJay (65 comments) says:

    At the complex we stay at in Mt. Maunganui they have Ultra Fast Broadband (very recent install) and it is free! They have a wireless router in every apartment and it works great. That’s why we stay there when we are in the Mount!

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  9. xy (130 comments) says:

    Yeah, it’s even worse in the states. The funniest moment was in Bozeman on the way out of Yellowstone when we walked in with our tablets and asked about the free internet, and they handed over an ethernet cable to use.

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  10. Tinshed (55 comments) says:

    I agree that the rate many hotels charge is an absolute rort. There seems to be an almost direct correlation between the price of the hotel room and the price of internet usage: the higher the price of the room, the higher the cots of the internet. When deciding which accommodation we use, we always if the place has free wi-fi. If it doesn’t then we won’t there. When travelling for work it is different story as it is either included in the room rate or paid for by the company. Nonetheless in these circumstances you can still see the rack-rate prices charged and they are usually obscene.

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  11. wreck1080 (3,522 comments) says:

    Free wifi speeds were very slow at the majority of Canadian/US hotels I stayed with. Some offered upgrades so you could pay for usable speeds.

    It was best just to get a local 3g sim and use that.

    NZ is also woeful, but I have 3g so don’t use them anyway.

    Accommodation providers have probably lost a ton of revenue from fixed line calling fees so are trying to make up the difference.

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  12. rouppe (852 comments) says:

    Travellers in NZ or the USA have it relatively easy. You buy a local SIM and you can use it for the two or three or five weeks you are in the country.

    I’m going to Europe soon, and in 3 weeks I will be in 3 different countries. As far as I know there isn’t a single SIM that you can buy that includes data across country boundaries, even with the same supplier.

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  13. MT_Tinman (2,790 comments) says:

    I’m currently in Motueka enjoying a motel’s free, unlimited wifi.

    Admittedly a bloody long way to go to get it though :-)

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  14. johnwellingtonwells (75 comments) says:

    Roupe – yes there is OneSimCard and with a lot of other features – download pdf file at http://www.aboutworldcallsim.biz – my contact details are on the file – but heading overseas on the 25th and will be making extensive use of it

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  15. johnwellingtonwells (75 comments) says:

    Roupe – from talking with rellys in the UK, don’t forget to take your gumbboots – I am

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  16. TM (78 comments) says:

    Charging for internet is like the coin-operated TVs that some motels used to have – it comes across as a way to squeeze money from the customer. I always try to choose accommodation with free internet and am happy paying more for a room that has it.

    At least nowadays with sites like Tripadvisor, if any accommodation has excessive charges they (deservedly) get hammered in the ratings and get bad reviews.

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