I just got home from a stay in the beautiful city of Vienna. It is a fantastic city, and I lived in a very nice hotel. But, their so-called free Wi-Fi made me ask myself an interesting question – What is the definition of free Wi-Fi?
I read about the hotel I stayed in that they have free Wi-Fi available. That is very good and important if you are on a business trip, or if you are on a leisure trip where you look forward to watching some content on Netflix after a long day discovering attractions all around the city. And that is when I started to wonder about the free Wi-Fi in the hotel.
So… what is the definition of free Wi-Fi? When should something be allowed to be called free Wi-Fi?
What was my problem? I connected to the free Wi-Fi, only to discover that they had a package costing 10 Euro per day if you wanted to stream online content. In other words, the free Wi-Fi was a slow connection on which you were not supposed to be able to get high speeds at all. Is that fair?
To make things even worse, the free Wi-Fi wasn’t always fast enough to let me check my email, or watch a news stream on Facebook. Isn’t that kind of brutal?
And that makes me ask myself the question, what is the definition of free Wi-Fi? When should someone be allowed to say that they have free Wi-Fi? In my mind, people would react if someone boosted in having free breakfast, only for the guests to discover that they have come cold tea available upon arrival. Or, how would people react if they read about free transportation, only to discover that the transportation devices don’t move? This is how I felt as I used the so-called “free Wi-Fi” in my Vienna hotel.
In addition, I wanted to use a VPN to secure my data. That is okay, and sometimes the VPN actually made the superslow Wi-Fi connection a bit faster. But, in most cases, I wasn’t even able to connect to a VPN server, because of the lack of speed of the original Internet connection. Now, that is a terrible free Wi-Fi, and in my mind, I wouldn’t even allow myself to call it free Wi-Fi. This is a simple way to force people into buying a package, as the free product can’t even do a thing.
Ohh… I came up with one more example. What about the free Office product, but you are not allowed to write anything unless you buy the registered version. Again, it is crazy and it is leading their customers astray.