should wi-fi be free?

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Apologies in advance for this wi-fi rant that we are about to unleash. We don’t like complaining or whinging but there was a moment of weakness when this was written and so we thought we best post it anyway 🙂

After only recently returning from a trip to Singapore and a trip to Melbourne, we are reminded of one noticeably different aspect between hotels overseas and hotels within Australia. We simply can’t help but compare….

We want to see that WiFi symbol on our devices :-)
We like to see that WiFi symbol on our devices 🙂

Free wi-fi connectivity seems to be a rarity in hotels within Australia – to find one is like finding a gold mine. We experience these issues with connecting no matter where in Australia we are. But worse yet, the charges for wi-fi are astronomical if one is to pay. The recent price we saw was $40 AUD for a maximum 1GB download over 3 days – how utterly unreasonable.

And when there is complimentary wi-fi, there are all these restrictions such as half an hour access, available only in the lobby, up to 500MB download per day.

We think back to our hotel in Singapore, we not only got a smart phone with unlimited internet access but we also had complimentary in-room wi-fi. So maybe it was a recent experience that is making us feel a little precious about free wi-fi?

Nope, that’s not it, because we have travelled to developing countries where free wi-fi is much more accessible and readily available in hotels than it is in Australia.

Anyway, we just wish Australian hotels have the heart and offer free (or at least reasonably priced) wi-fi, help keep us connected with our loved ones and our blogging community without costing us an arm and leg.

To put it simply, we love free wi-fi :-)
To put it simply, we love free wi-fi 🙂

Maybe you disagree and think wi-fi shouldn’t be free – would love to hear your thoughts.

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34 thoughts on “should wi-fi be free?

    Jaspa said:
    May 6, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    My experience is that budget hotels are much more likely to have free wi-fi. The more ‘upmarket’ a hotel is, the more they generally charge you for wi-fi. Perhaps because they’re wringing all they can out of business travellers, or perhaps because they think the more you’re willing to pay for a room, the less you’ll notice the extra charges. Or am I being cynical?

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      May 6, 2014 at 9:33 pm

      Nope, not cynical! We totally agree with you 🙂 – or does that make us cynical too? 😉

      Beginning to think free wi-fi is really a no-brainer in winning over your guests and patrons, huh?

        Jaspa said:
        May 6, 2014 at 9:39 pm

        It certainly influences us. Especially since Sue usually has to check in with work most evenings when we’re travelling. And I’ve often got my blogging/tweeting/instagraming to catch up on!

    Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya) said:
    May 6, 2014 at 6:12 pm

    The UN declared that internet is a basic human right. So wifi should be free, not just in Australia but the world over.

    Bemused Backpacker said:
    May 2, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Yes, absolutely. Simple as that.

    Heather said:
    May 2, 2014 at 7:50 am

    It was about unheard of in Europe in 2008 I hope things are a changin!

    foreignsanctuary said:
    May 1, 2014 at 3:38 pm

    I think it should be free and a lot of hotels in Asia do offer complimentary Wi-Fi. I have never been to Australia so I can’t comment on that but when I travel to the States, I always make sure that free Wi-Fi is included, even if it costs a little more.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      May 1, 2014 at 3:40 pm

      We have noticed complimentary wifi overseas seems more common than in Australia or maybe we’ve just been unlucky with where we have stayed here in Australia 😟
      Thanks for taking the time to comment!
      We need to be more conscious now when booking accommodation that includes wi-fi 😉

    the eternal traveller said:
    May 1, 2014 at 6:39 am

    It’s not just the wi-fi that’s on the stingy side here. We are always amazed when we travel overseas by how cheap most things are; especially food. We grow our own here but it’s so expensive. And the cost of entry to many attractions and visitor places is exorbitant.

    I use airbnb for our accommodation when we travel and I only book places with free internet.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      May 1, 2014 at 6:57 am

      Good point about prices in general in Australia. Our transport is another massive rip-off! Don’t get us started on that 😉 Compared to overseas where travelling on public transport is so much more reasonable and reliable. Not sure why we can’t get that right, either!

        the eternal traveller said:
        May 2, 2014 at 6:25 am

        I could go on and on about this! We often compare what things would cost in Australia when we are overseas.

        We had an amazing bus journey through Bavaria on a day trip to Neuschwanstein – 2 hours each way on a local bus, for the princely sum of 9 euros each. I wrote about it on my blog. You can search for it if you are interested in reading about it. It was also a guest post on The Hitchhiker’s Handbook.

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          May 2, 2014 at 6:46 am

          Awesome will read tonight after we get back from work 🙂

    Forestwoodfolkart said:
    April 30, 2014 at 10:49 pm

    It is totally wrong and embarrassing that a country like Australia… so large, westernized and wealthy should have such appalling internet and wi-fi availability. And due to the current government’s policy of not continuing with the implemention of the National broadband network, Australia is looking more and more like a technological dinosaur.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      May 1, 2014 at 5:59 am

      Hahaha – technological dinosaur 🙂
      We don’t need lighting speed fast internet but at least some free access occasionally, right?! Thanks for commenting 🙂

    kpowley said:
    April 30, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Agree!! Having free and accessible wi-fi just makes travelling so much smoother – and it’s very important to let people back home you’re safe/keep in touch generally. Funnily enough, when I lived in Australia I found that not many places had wi-fi, sadly (I had a simple cheap sim card so I relied on wi-fi even though I was living there).

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      April 30, 2014 at 9:25 pm

      Yep – we rely on our mobile data when we are out and about! Worse thing is our mobile plan allows only a certain amount of downloads and when we exceed that – the prices just fly through the roof! Would prefer if it would just throttle 😦
      Oh well, hopefully one day it will change!

    Shelley @Travel-Stained said:
    April 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I totally agree that wifi should be free everywhere!! In Seoul, we are pretty spoiled, because you can literally connect for free in any cafe, restaurant, hotel or even street corner! In fact, I think even the whole Gangnam neighbourhood and all the subways have free wifi here!

    The thing that was most shocking to me was that in places like Thailand, the small B&Bs most always provide free wifi. It’s the 5 start resorts that insist on charging you for it. What’s that about???!!!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      April 30, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Hear hear! Our theory is that high end hotels obviously think their patrons can afford to stay so therefore can afford to pay for wifi!
      To the day, we can get free wifi everywhere – cheers!!
      Thanks for your opinion!

    iwasonceastar said:
    April 30, 2014 at 7:59 am

    I work for a telecommunication company in Canada, and I have recently had a conversation about this with one of our customers. I absolutely believe that wifi should be free, not just in hotels but in a lot of public places. We now live in an era where the internet is a necessity, these days we use the internet more than any other resource. We need it to stay connected to friends and family, to look for work, to find addresses, and many other reasons. This being said, there is an expectation for instantaneous accessibility and unfortunately the systems in place (especially in Australia; from what I hear the internet is very slow there) are not yet fit to accommodate the amount of traffic our techy society needs. But luckily technological advances are exponential so I imagine it wont be too long till we have access to great internet service almost anywhere!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      April 30, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Thanks for your comment! All very valid points. We don’t expect super speed Internet but at least enough to send even a short email to family so they know we are safe, an email that doesn’t cost us $$$ – but agreed – here’s to hoping: great accessible Internet service in the near future 🙂

    Marie said:
    April 30, 2014 at 5:00 am

    Some of the same issues here in the U.S. High-end hotels in particular tend to charge for wi-fi. Others have it must in the lobby. While many eating establishments (even McDonald’s) offer free wi-fi, you have to sign in, often by providing your email and sometimes your name. When I was in Paris a couple years ago, my smart phone kept indicating I was connected to the free wi-fi, but I could never actually connect to my email or the internet. I think possibly I might have had to sign in but didn’t know how to do it (new phone at the time).

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      April 30, 2014 at 6:42 am

      Yes, have noticed that too! Where there is ‘free’ wifi, all these other personal details are sometimes asked for which we do feel a little ‘uneasy’ about especially if we wanted to only quickly connect.

    emmahart7 said:
    April 30, 2014 at 3:19 am

    There should be a lot more places where wifi is available for free. One of my pet hates whilst travelling was having to pay for wifi, sometimes it was nice to be completely disconnected but other times it makes it so much easier to stay in touch with friends, family and just go generally know what was going on in the world! That’s why I liked Hong Kong so much, there was free wifi everywhere!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      April 30, 2014 at 6:39 am

      Thanks Emma for stopping by! Hmmm… With everything that travellers already pay, sometimes the least we ask for is free wi-fi, right? Just seems so archaic not to have it more accessible to people.

    nnhtcao said:
    April 29, 2014 at 11:31 pm

    even travelling overseas – you could purchase data packs for very cheap. Data for roaming with Telstra http://www.telstra.com.au/mobile-phones/international-roaming/manage-your-data-costs/post-paid-data-packs/ – hardly worth it. $29 for 100MB – Singapore’s Starhub offered something so cheap and you could download something like 2GB per day. http://www.starhub.com/personal/broadband/mobile-broadband/price-plans.html

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      April 30, 2014 at 6:36 am

      Oh dear! That is a huge difference, we actually haven’t considered purchasing data packs before! May be worth us looking into if free wi-fi is not available – but clearly only when we are overseas!

    The GypsyNesters said:
    April 29, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Firm believers in free wifi at hotels! We will even pick a different hotel sometimes if one doesn’t offer it. And we also found Australia to be a little stingy on the wifi. But we have to say that generally it is getting much easier to find places, coffee shops, restaurants, book stores, libraries, etc, that have it available, so that is good.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      April 29, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Love the way you put it about Australia being “stingy” – thought it was only us that felt that way!
      In this day and age, without sounding so righteous, one would only think that wi-fi should be free or at more accessible which as you point out is becoming more common.
      Thanks for stopping by 🙂

    Vlad said:
    April 29, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    I agree, there should be more places with free wi-fi! I was in Amsterdam last year and while the hotel had great wi-fi in the room, all the restaurants where we stopped to eat had wi-fi that didn’t work. So frustrating! And this year it was really difficult to find accommodation in the south of Portugal with internet in the room, we had to settle for one with wi-fi at the reception only 😦

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      April 29, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      Phew – glad to hear that it isn’t only us that felt this way!!
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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