We have become so attached to our email and Internet access that traveling without them is no longer an option for many:
- consider wireless telecommunications. It is only beginning to evolve from cellphones and small hand-held devices to a whole new market in which broadband wireless Internet and e-mail service is becoming available on airplanes, in pubic places and in hotel rooms.
….The service is built around so-called Wi-Fi, a system that uses radio frequencies to build local zones where laptops or personal digital devices can have access to e-mail messages, the Internet and even internal corporate networks – all without wires.
Access to Wi-Fi zones is sometimes available free on college campuses, in city parks and airports, train stations and even coffee bars. But recently, airlines like British Airways and Lufthansa have begun testing Wi-Fi access inflight, at a price. And many high-end hotels have been rushing to install wireless services in their guest rooms, meeting halls and other public spaces.
“You’re creating smart space for your guests,” Mr. Taylor said as he fiddled with a laptop that had already been set up by the hotel.
Watching him, Kay McCarthy, the hotel’s telecommunications manager, explained that the system, once it is fully operational, would allow guests to buy a “scratch card” with coding enabling them to log on for hourly increments. Wi-Fi zones are indiscriminate – anyone in the immediate vicinity of the hotel will be able to log onto the One Aldwych home screen and its promotional links. But only those who buy the access card will be able to continue onto the Internet itself.
….All over, hotels are rushing – even as industry revenues dip – to meet the perceived demand for the most advanced services like Wi-Fi. “The Internet and e-mail have become so much a part of our daily lives that to be without them on the road is unsettling and isolating,” said Anne Dimon, who writes a travel technology column for The Toronto Sun and frequently travels internationally with a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop. “The need to stay in touch is right up there with a safe flight, a good meal and a comfortable bed,” she said. [NY Times]
Traveling briefly without Internet access is a blessed break, traveling more than a couple of days without access, a virtual impossibility.