Free High-Speed Internet…May Not Be

By Deane Barker on December 23, 2004

Something to look out for when you travel: hotels advertising “Free High-Speed Internet” may be fudging the terms just a little bit.

I stayed in a hotel in New Jersey once that advertised this. I was all excited to get my laptop hooked up and check my email when I discovered what it really meant —

They had some kind of Web TV thing. You got high-speed service to about 15 sites on the television: CNN, the New York Times, and a few others. To get “Free and Unrestricted High-Speed Internet,” you had to pay $14.95 a day. And even then, you were still hampered by this crappier-than-WebTV interface that my Web mail refused to work for.

Needless to say, I was a little irritated. Now I never take “Free High-Speed Internet” at face value again. I always ask at the front desk. Not all hotels are this way (this one, in particular, was great), but has anyway else encountered this same problem?