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Wireless at ALA: Empty Your Piggybanks

Ouch! Based on preliminary phone calls, it appears both San Diego and Orlando conference centers charge conference attendees $4.95 an hour or $24.95 a day for wireless access. I have a second call in to San Diego to reverify these costs, which are at least a couple weeks old.

I’m somewhat breathless at these costs–not to mention suspicious of industry price-fixing. I realize a conference hot dog costs $5 because it is crafted by hand by sausage artisans hired specifically for our very own conference. Internet wireless, though, is fairly inexpensive to provide. The Philadelphia conference center charges $40 for an entire conference, and Monterey, which just hosted Internet Librarian, and which is not exactly in a low-rent district, charges $10 a day. This is a reasonable cost for what you get, and more fun than a conference hot dog (even if the conference center is making a mint even at $10 per diem).

ALA conference committee members, take note. When you’re evaluating convention centers, cost out attendee wireless Internet access (if they are clueless and ask “cell phone?” or “exhibitor?” reply, “no, 802.11 for attendees”). It’s not the only or the most important factor–but it’s one to add to the mix.

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