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January 5, 2015
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CONVENE -- Wi-Fi: Who's Paying What?




Few topics press a planner’s hot button like the high cost of Wi-Fi at convention centers and other meeting venues. “It’s outrageous,” said Sarah Hayden, CEM, convention manager for Kiwanis International, describing the $80,000 fee that a major North American convention center quoted for basic Wi-Fi service during the group’s meeting. “I understand there’s a cost for wireless, but $80,000 is a big chunk of money for a nonprofit. We’re not an association with high connectivity needs. We just wanted to give our attendees the ability to check their email.”

Hayden has plenty of company among other meeting planners, show organizers, and exhibitors who feel they are paying fees and rates that are well beyond what it should cost to provide wireless connectivity at a reasonable margin of profit. The question of fair and reasonable access to Wi-Fi at conventions gained national prominence in October when the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced that it had fined Marriott International $600,000 for blocking use of mobile Wi-Fi in the convention area of Marriott’s Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville “while at the same time charging consumers, small businesses, and exhibitors as much as $1,000 per device to access Marriott’s Wi-Fi network.”

Read more at PCMA.org...  


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