whorishly expensive wi-fi

photo by baratunde, via Flickr (click for more)

Rule: Wi-Fi access at conferences should never, ever, cost more than the conference itself! Ever.

I'm in Washington, D.C. (my hometown) for my annual pilgrimage to the great meetup and mashup of the publishing industry: BookExpo America. Here booksellers, publishers, authors and wannabes of all those categories descend on a city's convention center to find out what's coming out in the Fall, issues challenging the industry (Google, Internet. Plagiarism anyone??) and just kick it.

This is my fourth year, and I was looking forward to posting updates throughout the day, but there is something rotten in the state of Wi-Fi. The entire, new, DC convention center is wired (or unwired, whatever) with the most WHORISHLY EXPENSIVE WI-FI ever. Yes, WHORISHLY EXPENSIVE.

courtesy of Instant Internet (brought to you by Smart City):

$25 per day for 64Kbps connection speeds??
$50 per day for 128Kbps connection speeds??

Dude, my friggin cell phone is faster than that? How can they even call that Wi-Fi? It's neither Wi, nor particularly Fi!

As for "Smart City," here's what their website says:

Smart City is a full-service communications provider across the nation and one of the world's largest communications providers to convention centers and hospitality venues. Smart City provides technologies that make our cities smarter places to work, live, and play.

and their motto is:

Making the world smarter.
One city at a time.

How about this instead?

Making the world dumber.
One overpriced kilobit at a time.

For a four-day conference, that's $200, and it only cost $150 to be here.

The point of a conference is to connect people, to hype the rep of the conference itself, and to make the experience as exciting and productive as possible for the attendees. ALL conferences should include wi-fi in the registration, for MAYBE $5 per day. They should assume bloggers and reporters and vigilante pundits want to file their stories and thoughts and ideas. They should expect that I'll want to check out the website of the publishers and other industry folk I meet.

In fact, the DC Convention Center should never contract with a company like "Instant Internet." What kind of name is that anyway? How is 128Kbps instant?? Convention Centers should include Wi-Fi for all conferences of a certain size just as a cost of doing business.

The point for you readers is that you'll have to deal with these batch uploads of posts, where I submit like three to five THOUSAND entries at night when I have a more powerful and more affordable signal available.

In a few weeks, I won't miss their stinking whore-y wi-fi because I'll have EV-DO from Sprint on my Treo 700p paired with my Blacbook.

In the meantime, I'd like to thank Tryst in Adams Morgan for providing the FREE WI-FI which makes this post possible hours upon hours after I wrote it.

Oh, and just a minute ago I met two other BEA attendees. Denise, from a Latino literacy group and Tony Diaz from Nuestra Palabra which hosts the largest book events in Houston, and they're all about Latino literature.

peace people. I'll see if I can bang out a few more entries tonight, but no promises!

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