Following a rapid trip to one our favourite European capitals this week - a trip your author has taken probably 200 times in the last 10 or so years - it's worth mentioning (yet again) how we continue to be massively impressed with the pervasive and open internet access available to the 'locals' - not to mention business travellers. By that I mean, free and open WiFi - and FREAKING LOADS of it.
You listening, London?!
From the lovely (and fast!) WiFi in Schiphol airport, through to the fully connected train journey to Amsterdam's Centraal Station. Heck, we even managed fairly regular WiFi connectivity at many points throughout our Tram journey to the hotel ! In fact, there was a rare moment in the past 24 hours when WiFi was not available (again, totally for free) in just about every location we visited. Even the famed and historic 17th and 18th Century 'brown bars' of Amsterdam are connected - as I enjoyed a nice Dutch coffee this morning while surfing to my heart's content on my iPad Mini.
How can this be the exception rather than the norm in 2013?
From shoddy (and extremely expensive) WiFi in most US & UK airports to the complete 'hit and miss' pain that is Hotel WiFi, it is clear the rest of the world (well the world that is West of the Netherlands) needs a serious wake up call.
What about the free WiFi in London's coffee chain hell that is Starbucks, Caffé Nero, and Costa's you ask? In almost every case the WiFi is abysmally managed (ever try actually getting some work done in one of these places?), requires some kind of long-form loyalty card sign-up to activate, or simply isn't worth the 20 minutes of frustration required to establish a reliable connection.
The situation in the U.S. is certainly no better as Michael Hiltzik from the Los Angeles Times reports.
It's time to take a tip from our Dutch friends and get this sorted. Finally.