Is It Ok To Charge For Wifi

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by drmcleod, Jul 18, 2008.

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Campground WiFi should:

  1. be Free to entice more campers to the c/g

    7 vote(s)
    58.3%
  2. be Free in the more "deluxe" sites

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. be charged for on a per usage basis (recieve an access code at check in if paid for)

    1 vote(s)
    8.3%
  4. be Charged for by an outside agency when loggin on

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
  5. not be a part of the camping experience (leave your technology at home)

    2 vote(s)
    16.7%
  1. puddleduck

    puddleduck
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    Our park is in a very rural area and the only internet available is satellite. We have the highest level of service plan that is available. (and it's not cheap) If we exeed our bandwidth limit (33 gig per rolling 30 days) the ISP will simply shut us down.
    We don't place physical limits on usage but we explain this to our customers and ask that they limit their usage.
    I have one customer who has been here 5 days and has been on line 50 hrs. I have another who checked in 12 hours ago and has been on line 8 hrs. (a 1/2 price customer of course).
    Should I :
    Charge for Wifi ?
    Discontinue Wifi ?
    Limit time allowed ?
    Allow x hrs free and charge for more ?
    Find new customers ?
     
  2. joez

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    QUOTE(puddleduck @ May 3 2013, 09:03 AM) [snapback]33280[/snapback]

    Our park is in a very rural area and the only internet available is satellite. We have the highest level of service plan that is available. (and it's not cheap) If we exeed our bandwidth limit (33 gig per rolling 30 days) the ISP will simply shut us down.
    We don't place physical limits on usage but we explain this to our customers and ask that they limit their usage.
    I have one customer who has been here 5 days and has been on line 50 hrs. I have another who checked in 12 hours ago and has been on line 8 hrs. (a 1/2 price customer of course).
    Should I :
    Charge for Wifi ?
    Discontinue Wifi ?
    Limit time allowed ?
    Allow x hrs free and charge for more ?
    Find new customers ?



    We have stayed at several places that limit bandwidth use. Those that handle it professionally put limits in writing and say what will happen if the limits are exceeded (normally throttling). We have stayed at a few that forbid the use of Skype or similar due to bandwidth limitations. We have watched violators asked to leave by park management.

    If it were my business, I would do whatever was necessary to ensure each customer provided a profit. As a customer, I would prefer a menu of charges for things like internet, perhaps a base use included in the site price, with additional usage at an additional cost. But, if you do that, would you have enough bandwidth to satisfy everyone if they all chose to pay for lots of usage? Sometimes, running a business and making those decisions is no fun. But above all, you have to make a profit to stay in business. Good luck.
     
  3. Florida Native

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    QUOTE
    Allow x hrs free and charge for more ?


    That would certainly be my recommendation. We use the internet for two major things. Surfing, where I check a number of news type sites and may end of watching some short (2 minutes or so), banking (just a few minutes), and backing up of photos that can use a lot of bandwidth. I would definitely put off the high band width items until we had a better site. I think most RVers are courteous, but there are always a few that will abuse. When using a lot of bandwidth, I will sometimes get things all setup to backup and then when I get up in the middle of the night to back up, I then click a bit and allow the backup of photos to go on while we are all asleep and usage is low. I also don't think hours of usage is a good measure of usage as some activities can use hundreds of times more bandwidth than others. Many people (especially when they have a hard time connecting) will just stay connected even when not using the computer to avoid the hassle. Bandwidth used is a much better measure.
     
  4. puddleduck

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    I was hoping for a couple good responses and I got them.
    I am trying to solve my problem without buying even more hardware.
    I have the ability to:
    limit speed by customer
    limit speed globaly
    limit time used by customer

    I already force logout after 10 minutes idle time and force logout after 120 minutes usage. So abusers know that they are abusers.

    I think I have a plan now that will work. Unfortunately all you good folks who try to cooperate will end up paying a little more to support the ones who are just takers. But I guess that's todays world isn't it?
     
  5. docj

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    QUOTE(joez @ May 3 2013, 11:28 AM) [snapback]33281[/snapback]

    We have stayed at several places that limit bandwidth use. Those that handle it professionally put limits in writing and say what will happen if the limits are exceeded (normally throttling). We have stayed at a few that forbid the use of Skype or similar due to bandwidth limitations. We have watched violators asked to leave by park management.

    If it were my business, I would do whatever was necessary to ensure each customer provided a profit. As a customer, I would prefer a menu of charges for things like internet, perhaps a base use included in the site price, with additional usage at an additional cost. But, if you do that, would you have enough bandwidth to satisfy everyone if they all chose to pay for lots of usage? Sometimes, running a business and making those decisions is no fun. But above all, you have to make a profit to stay in business. Good luck.



    IMHO campgrounds should make the investment to put appropriate software in place so they can limit customer bandwidth. If you don't want people to stream video then don't give them >1-2 Mbps access. Asking people not to stream is never going to work because all it takes is a few to ignore the request and ruin a slow connection for everyone.

    As for asking customers to leave a CG because they used Skype, I'd sure like to know how that determination was made. If the CG was actively tracking what sites were visited I think there might be a privacy issue; if you don't want people to go to certain sites, block them!! The software exists, just buy it and use it!
     
  6. docj

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    QUOTE(puddleduck @ May 3 2013, 11:03 AM) [snapback]33280[/snapback]

    Our park is in a very rural area and the only internet available is satellite. We have the highest level of service plan that is available. (and it's not cheap) If we exeed our bandwidth limit (33 gig per rolling 30 days) the ISP will simply shut us down.
    We don't place physical limits on usage but we explain this to our customers and ask that they limit their usage.
    I have one customer who has been here 5 days and has been on line 50 hrs. I have another who checked in 12 hours ago and has been on line 8 hrs. (a 1/2 price customer of course).
    Should I :
    Charge for Wifi ?
    Discontinue Wifi ?
    Limit time allowed ?
    Allow x hrs free and charge for more ?
    Find new customers ?



    I find it hard to believe that your ISP cuts you off for excess usage rather than simply charging you additional $$. I had Hughesnet satellite for 8 years and, yes, they severely throttled excess usage but I could always pay $$ to have the speed restored.

    IMHO the examples you cite of customers using your internet connection don't prove anything. All you are looking at is how long a customer has remained connected, not how much data they have used. I keep my computers connected 24/7 but not much of anything goes on when they aren't actively being used.

    However, I do think that you should limit your customer's bandwidth because very few will understand the reasons for the slow speed and long latency that a satellite connection exhibits. Just be upfront with them and tell them that their speeds are being limited to ~400 kbps so they can check email and do some surfing but not infringe on the rights of others.

    Next, pay someone to install software that can do this. My beef with CG owners is that they try to run wifi networks without treating them as part of their business. If you pride yourself on having a degree of professionalism then extend that to your network. View your investment in it as a way of making your customers happy and reducing your overall hassle factor.
     
  7. Florida Native

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    If a service is there, most people are going to use it. Would you meter electricity for each site? I have seen many times people leave their AC on full blast when leaving for the day so it will be nice when they get back in the evening. WiFi is just another example of the same thing.
     
  8. NYDutch

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    A few weeks ago we were at a campground in Florida that does meter and charge for electricity at each site, even for overnighters, although they can pay a flat rate instead. Since we were only paying $14.50/night at the weekly rate though, the extra cost for electric wasn't an issue.
     
  9. puddleduck

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    QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ May 4 2013, 08:15 AM) [snapback]33296[/snapback]

    If a service is there, most people are going to use it. Would you meter electricity for each site? I have seen many times people leave their AC on full blast when leaving for the day so it will be nice when they get back in the evening. WiFi is just another example of the same thing.



    Actually the frugal electric user would be better off if each site were metered. As it is, he is helping to pay for the guy who runs his AC all day.
     
  10. Florida Native

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    It would make check out a hassle though. Now we just dump, pack up and leave without having to pay again.
     
  11. wpr

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    QUOTE(Lindsay Richards @ May 29 2013, 09:53 AM) [snapback]33607[/snapback]

    It would make check out a hassle though. Now we just dump, pack up and leave without having to pay again.




    When I camped in Europe in the nineteeneighties quite a few campgrounds had coin-operated electric hook-ups. On arrival, you fed the beast some coins and before going to sleep you estimated if there was enough juice left to last the night. This way you payed only what you used, even though it was a hassle.
     
  12. docj

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    Since this thread about WiFi has gotten hijacked to be about charging for electricity, you could minimize everyone's frustration if you used an approach similar to how rental car companies deal with the issue of a tank of gas. You can either return the car with a full tank or you can buy the full tank upfront and return it as close to empty as you wish.

    To stretch the analogy a bit, if a CG wanted to charge for electricity it could offer customers a choice of either a flat $$/day charge (calculated on their electric rate and an average expected usage) or a xx cents/kw-hr rate if they wish to settle up when they leave. If you are only staying for one night and want to be off early in the morning you might find a $2-4 charge for electricity to be acceptable. If you were staying for a week and think you are very frugal you could opt to pay the actual cost based on usage.

    The CG could insist on a credit card authorization or a cash deposit to ensure that customers who wanted to pay as they left didn't leave without paying. That would be no different than giving a credit card to a hotel when you checked in to cover any charges to your room.
     
  13. WrongWayRandall

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    While we have zero interest in technology when camping, I can appreciate any park's need to charge for wireless access. Among other things in my professional capacity, I manage a centralized wireless network with over 500 access points and I can tell you that it is no small (or inexpensive) task to give good wireless coverage and capacity in a high density setting. There are a number of substantial costs associated with providing wireless service when you are doing anything more than dropping a personal wireless router in your living room for your sole use, especially when you consider that the equipment the park must use has to be able to withstand prolonged exposure to the elements. There are equipment costs, technical support costs, costs for service from a service provider, etc. that occur on a regular basis which must all be accounted for somehow. Since most businesses are in business to make money rather than give it away, they need to pass along all costs to their customers (with some overhead for profit of course) I would have no problem with a site offering wireless service with a daily cost.

    That said, I would greatly prefer that a park charge a separate fee for this service rather than roll it into the already significant overnight charge. I think that it is probably a nice convenience for those interested in using it when 'camping', but I don't think that either the park or those who wish to spend time away from all that type of distraction when camping should have to pay for it.
     
  14. docj

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    QUOTE(WrongWayRandall @ May 30 2013, 03:17 PM) [snapback]33624[/snapback]


    That said, I would greatly prefer that a park charge a separate fee for this service rather than roll it into the already significant overnight charge. I think that it is probably a nice convenience for those interested in using it when 'camping', but I don't think that either the park or those who wish to spend time away from all that type of distraction when camping should have to pay for it.



    I sense that the quotes around the word "camping" in your post denote a pejorative associated in your mind with people who go camping but are interested in maintaining contact with the rest of the world. I would like to point out that there are many people who use or live in RVs who in no way view themselves as "campers" by your definition.

    My wife and I enjoy sitting outside if the weather is pleasant and we use our (propane) grill if it is appropriate for the food we are preparing. But we don't make campfires unless the grandkids are with us and we surely don't cook anything over a fire other than marshmallows. Our cooking appliances include a Gaggenau rangetop, a Circulon induction burner, a GE Profile microwave/convection oven and a Breville toaster/convection oven.

    Our onboard computer network consists of 2 laptops, an iPad, a Nexus, two smart phones, a Roku and a wireless printer. Maintaining internet connectivity is just as essential to our lives as is the ability to cook gourmet meals.

    We're sorry if this isn't "camping" as you expect it to be. We are RVers, not campers and never claimed otherwise.
     
  15. HappiestCamper

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    QUOTE(docj @ May 30 2013, 09:56 PM) [snapback]33636[/snapback]

    Our onboard computer network consists of 2 laptops, an iPad, a Nexus, two smart phones, a Roku and a wireless printer.



    Just a quick question - I looked up the wifiranger stuff in your signature, and I see that their products range from routers that use 3/4G, and routers that use wifi hotspots. Do you use the Roku on the CG's wifi, or through 3/4G?
     
  16. WrongWayRandall

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    QUOTE(docj @ May 30 2013, 09:56 PM) [snapback]33636[/snapback]

    I sense that the quotes around the word "camping" in your post denote a pejorative associated in your mind with people who go camping but are interested in maintaining contact with the rest of the world. I would like to point out that there are many people who use or live in RVs who in no way view themselves as "campers" by your definition.

    My wife and I enjoy sitting outside if the weather is pleasant and we use our (propane) grill if it is appropriate for the food we are preparing. But we don't make campfires unless the grandkids are with us and we surely don't cook anything over a fire other than marshmallows. Our cooking appliances include a Gaggenau rangetop, a Circulon induction burner, a GE Profile microwave/convection oven and a Breville toaster/convection oven.

    Our onboard computer network consists of 2 laptops, an iPad, a Nexus, two smart phones, a Roku and a wireless printer. Maintaining internet connectivity is just as essential to our lives as is the ability to cook gourmet meals.

    We're sorry if this isn't "camping" as you expect it to be. We are RVers, not campers and never claimed otherwise.



    I'm sorry that you read so much hostility into my response - that is, unfortunately, one of the downsides inherent to impersonal methods of communication such as this. My quote merely meant to acknowledge in advance that my idea of camping does not often match the definition that many people who participate in online forums related to this topic have for the word 'camping', and that not everyone needs, or wants, to be connected at all times, hence my comment that the charge for Internet service would be more equitable if it were applied only to those who use it.

    For what it's worth, maintaining a regular disconnect from technology is essential to our lives as much as it appears maintaining a connection to it is essential to yours. I do not expect others to feel the way I do about any aspect of life, nor do I judge them harshly when their opinions differ from my own (which is the case far more often than not.) The Internet is full of people venting their bile and I have no interest in adding to (or participating in) such behavior. Please accept my apologies for any implied slight, I assure you that that was not my intent.
     
  17. Florida Native

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    For those of us who RV months at a time, WiFi is a necessity. This is how we stay connected with family and the world. We have over 10,000 photos on our website and family loves to look at them and discuss. I is so much more effective than verbal communications. I believe the modern campground has to understand that and tailor it's services for the RVers that frequent it's business. You don't know how many times I have been told, you are out here in nature and should leave all that "stuff" at home. Well, I want my family to enjoy that "stuff" with my family and want to keep up with what is going on in the world
     
  18. sjsaxt

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    It Should be Free, you have it installed for the business that a fixed cost now all you have to do is install a router and the rest of the park works off the WIFI. the only cost is the router $80.00 and your park is now ready.

    If needed you add entender to expand the wifi.
     
  19. NYDutch

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    QUOTE(sjsaxt @ May 31 2013, 11:53 AM) [snapback]33647[/snapback]

    It Should be Free, you have it installed for the business that a fixed cost now all you have to do is install a router and the rest of the park works off the WIFI. the only cost is the router $80.00 and your park is now ready.

    If needed you add entender to expand the wifi.


    Apparently you've never spec'ed an effective campground WiFi system. An $80 router would only serve the basic needs of the handful of sites that are closest to it. The back haul Internet service needed to support a busy 100 site system alone can run hundreds of dollars a month.
     
  20. Texasrvers

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    QUOTE(WrongWayRandall @ May 30 2013, 02:17 PM) [snapback]33624[/snapback]

    I would greatly prefer that a park charge a separate fee for this service rather than roll it into the already significant overnight charge. I think that it is probably a nice convenience for those interested in using it when 'camping', but I don't think that either the park or those who wish to spend time away from all that type of distraction when camping should have to pay for it.



    First, a belated welcome to the forum. It sounds like you will have a lot to offer to the discussions.

    Second, I think I understand what you are saying, and there have been several discussions on this website about this. Personally I think there are many different ways to enjoy using an RV—everything from boondocking at a secluded spot without any contact with the rest of the world to parking at a 5 star resort with every amenity and activity you can possibly want being available. One is not better than the other –just different, and what you choose depends on your individual likes, wants, and needs.

    That said, I believe that the term “camping” leans toward referring to a more rustic atmosphere usually with campfires, tents, no concrete in sight, few, if any, utilities, and no technology. I am not saying all “campgrounds” are (or have to be) this way, but for me, the terms “campground” and “camping” conjure up this vision.

    Many people like to have this type of experience. So I think all WrongWayRandall is saying is he is a person who likes to unplug every now and then, and if he will not be using the technology that is available at the campground, why should he have to pay for it. Unfortunately this has been asked many times before, and it is still being debated.
     

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