The Park Service "gets it" about the importance of wifi

Discussion in 'Tech Talk' started by docj, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. docj

    docj
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    The National Park Service has announced an initiative to bring high speed connectivity to its parks by 2018. The rationale for this can be summed up by this quote from the NPS Associate CIO:

    “That connection between IT and the customer exists before they get to the park, and they have that expectation for it,” he said. “So IT is becoming more and more important for the customer experience. I can tell you the complaints we get when somebody goes in to a park and finds a hotel doesn’t have high-speed WiFi so they can do their work while they are on vacation. It’s an expectation now so IT has to make sure it’s there.”

    Essentially, NPS is approaching the issue as one of meeting customer expectations. If that's what your customers expect to have available, then that's what they ought to be offered (if possible). Maybe RV park owners should begin to approach the subject the same way.

    Here's an article about the initiative: http://federalnewsradio.com/mobility/2015/12/national-park-service-bringing-online-outside/
     
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  2. Denali

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    Unfortunately for the camping public, they are talking about providing high speed connections only at the visitors centers, not the campsites. At least that's what I infer from this somewhat tortured language:
    That may not often [be available] in those areas when you can get on the main stream, it may get a little slow so that’s where we are looking at when you are at our actual visitors center, you will need a high speed connection.

    How many reviews have I read over the years where the RVer complains that the park doesn't REALLY have Wi-Fi because it is available only in the office area?

    This one small step is appreciated, though. Most of us remember when Wi-Fi availability was a novelty and we didn't expect to stream movies in our tents!
     
  3. docj

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    I think you're reading the article in the most restrictive manner possible. It does provide the example of someone checking into one of the hotels on park property and being upset because there isn't high speed connectivity. Some of the hotels at Glacier, Grand Teton and other big parks are pretty pricey and people expect to have internet access. At the moment some of these places don't even provide voice cellular service! The essence of the article is that customers are asking for these services and they need to be provided. Having access ONLY in the visitor center would not be much of a customer-friendly response.

    I think the level of coverage available ultimately will be on a park by park basis. The big western parks will be more of a challenge than some others, but if NPS makes this financially attractive to the carriers they will figure out a way to make it happen.
     
  4. HappiestCamper

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    Wouldn't that be the cellular provider falling down on the job? Unless the NPS is not allowing them to provide service. Some friends of mine just spent several weeks backpacking through the Utah national parks, and were posting pics to Facebook the whole time.
     
  5. mdcamping

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    My guess there might be some sort of land restrictions regarding cell towers on some protected land. I have experience with one particular project in CT regarding building structures on protected land which required approval from the CT Siting Council and the Army Core of engineers. Not an easy undertaking.

    Mike
     
    #5 mdcamping, Dec 7, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2015
  6. jimLE

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    thats the one thing about me.to me,it's not about wifi or the internet.it's about camping out,or staying in a hotel.i do admit haveing internet access is nice.but yet,thats not why im where ever im at,at the time.if i go camping,thats what im there to do.if im at a hotel.it's because a neice or nephew is graduating high school or something else.in which i need a place to stay.
     
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  7. Andy R

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  8. NYDutch

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  9. FosterImposters

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    Thanks for the link Andy R. Great reading on all KINDS of stuff!
     
  10. jerry T160

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    As a DCNR Conservation Volunteer in the state of PA, we presently do not have wifi at the state park campgrounds. However, in the park where I volunteer, we recognize the value of having wifi or at least good cell phone service at the visitor center. Today many campers want to frequently check their emails and will pay more to stay at nearby private campgrounds that have such service. Camping is not what it use to be and both state and national park services is being forced to compete.
     
  11. jimLE

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    it's understandable about wanting to check emails n all.i like to,mainly keep the amount of them down to a limit,for convenience when i get back home....it's sad to see so many people so dependant on the internet for so much,when they go camping,rv'ing and all.we did things as a family when we went camping.now it's like a free for all.everyone wants to go and do their own thing.
     
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  12. nedmtnman

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    I fulltimed for 11 years in a 5th wheel and internet was a must for paying bills and so on. For me it was a necessity. There were times in a National Park or so on that I knew I would not have wifi or internet and planned accordingly. If it was available it was a plus.
     
  13. docj

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    You're looking the issue from the perspective of someone who "vacations" in their RV or uses it for weekend escapes. Those of us who spend full-time in ours need internet everywhere we go. It's not a luxury for us and not an intrusion into our camping time.

    In addition, in many families, one or more members may have jobs that require constant communication capability. I'm not defending this inability to "get away from it all" but it is a fact of life.
     
  14. jimLE

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    i know there's folks who go rv'ing full time.in which that is understandable when it comes to them needing the internet,when their set up for a weekend,or what ever.but there's the ones that go 1 to 5 times in a year,and have familys..their the ones i was refering to..on acount i feel if a family that goes rving or camping.then it should be a family thing,that they actully do things togeather.instead of being glued to the monitor,ipod or what ever.
     
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  15. Ellistea

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    I think this is, in general terrific news. I hope it comes to fruition, but seriously . . . can't private parks do better? Okay, rant for another time. Even though I AM retired, I need to use the internet for a variety of reasons - one of the biggest is paying not only our bills, but my elderly mother's, as well as interfacing with her health care providers and ordering prescriptions and other items through amazon prime. It's been maddening so far to have such trouble with the internet. So I applaud the NPS for moving forward when my local RV park can't be bothered. I guess I consider it a worthy use of my tax dollars!
     
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  16. Texasrvers

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    Since you really need the internet for the things you mentioned, you might consider purchasing a hot spot for your cell phones. We did this about 3 years ago with Verizon and currently we have 6 gigs data each month. When we travel we try to use the park's wifi first, but if it is not good, we just turn on the hot spot. That eliminates a lot of frustration. This probably would not be enough data if you like to stream movies or if you do a lot of work on the internet, but it is plenty for us to check email and bank accounts, pay bills, and even do a little surfing to find attractions and restaurants in the area where we are. Also FYI, when we started traveling I put everything I could on automatic payment so that we don't have to bother with monthly bills. All we have to do is check the account once in a while to be sure everything is OK. Sure made life on the road much easier.
     
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  17. Ellistea

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    Thanks, Texasrvers.
     
  18. RFCN2

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    Just having wifi in the National Parks is great if it works. Most private RV parks have wifi now and very seldom does it work well. It is not the provider (campground) that causes the problem, it is the bandwidth hogs that jam up the systems. As far as satellite internet, it needs updating. I still have a Motosat internet dish on the roof of our motorhome. I used it for a number of years, but finally stopped subscribing to it when Verizon cell data service got so good. Keep in mind that two way sat internet is not easy like Direct TV. You also need to send a signal back to the satellite and that mean precision positioning. And it also means that if you cannot see the satellite you cannot get signal. So RV spaces with lots of trees don't work well. But if someone like Via Sat or Hughes would make good service available at a reasonable price I would be interested.

    In my experience having a good cell phone connection for your own wifi is better than having public wifi. If is way more secure and reliable than a public system which will likely get overloaded with people watching TV.
     
  19. docj

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    With all due respect, what you may consider to be a bandwidth hog another might consider to be simply an example of a modern family with kids, each member of which has one or more web-connected devices. WiFi has become the most complained about aspect of RV parks these days and that is reflected in the reviews on this website.

    You don't consider someone using their full 50A service at a park with 3 A/C's and lots of other stuff to be a "power hog". In fact, customers would be quite upset if they were asked to limit their usage to 40A so others could have enough power. Therefore, why ostracize someone who takes at face value the claim that an RV park offers "free, high speed internet"?

    Park owners often complain about their inability to obtain large enough internet backhaul service, but this defense is often used even for parks within large metro areas where that should not be an issue. More and more park owners are becoming sensitive to the fact that their customers want this feature to work as well as it does in their homes and providing them anything less than that will invite criticism.
     
  20. drfife

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    There is a difference. Someone else using their 50A electricity at capacity is unlikely to impact my electric service. Not so with wifi.
     

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