European Escapades

Spivs, Extortionists and the Internet




No I’m not talking about all those scams and con-men that seem to be prevalent on the internet according to all the newspaper hype. We get them in all walks of life. I’m talking about the Spiv’s and extortionists trying to take my hard earned and valuable money to get onto the internet in the first place. I wonder what response you guys would give sitting at home, if BT, Virgin or any of the other Broadband suppliers said it would cost you £3,720 per month to connect and surf the internet. Not only that, but you may not be able to download that missed Eastenders off the BBC i-Player website or download too many of your favourite tracks from the I-Tunes store, else they would restrict your bandwidth.

I know the response I would give to them. But that’s exactly the situation I’m in now with trying to get reasonable access to the internet whilst on the road. Ok you may say I’m exaggerating a little, as this figure is based on the £5 minimum charge of some Wi-Fi companies for one hours Internet access. You do get discounts if you increase your access purchased to daily (if available) or weekly. But even at £20 for seven days to access the Internet for a limited bandwidth service I still feel that its poor value for money. But you’re buying for a company that has a number of hotspots and even if you are only staying a few days at each campsite, you can use the unused days at other sites that we operate from, you say? So you are suggesting I restrict my travels just for Internet access, as opposed to where I actually want to go? Besides most of these companies Wi-Fi distribution is very limited and also not very well connected across the campsites either.

Go and get a wireless dongle from one of the mobile companies I hear you cry. Great Idea, but if you think that’s a cure all for the mobile home traveller, think again. Whilst in the UK I am happy to say that there are services available at a reasonable price but only with a monthly contract, they can come with restrictions 1GB a month or maybe 3GB download limits with some networks. The other fancy term they also like to band around is “Fair usage Policy” personally a crock in my mind. You can now also get them via pay as you go as well, but the caveat above about data limits still stand. I have also come across some newO2 and T-Mobile products on PAYG, which costs around £2 for a day’s access, as far as I know with no restrictions. I guess I will have to look into these as an option before we start our travels into Europe because once over the water it is a different situation entirely.

All the usage limits are out the window over in Europe and woe betide anyone who goes over the new limits of, wait for it, around 50MB in a month (laughing very loudly). Are they taking the proverbial? I could probably get away with downloading around eight singles from the I-Tunes store along with the graphic heavy pages I would have to wade through to actually buy them before I was in trouble and at my new limit. Not to mention the bandwidth taken by my EMail program as it downloaded all the spam and other graphic heavy content of today’s Emails whilst I was surfing for songs. What are these companies playing at?

The European Commission said that it wanted to see the mobile companies restructure the costs for roaming outside of your own EU country borders to be the same as you would pay at home with the addition of a small fee for the use of another countries network by 2010. I have yet to see this happening with a phone call let alone data charges. On the basis of 1GB download limit for me in the UK to 50MB in another EU country I work out that the cost is nineteen times more. Is that what they call the addition of a small fee for the use of another countries network?

I hope the European Commission sort out these robber barons sooner rather than later…..

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 18th, 2010 at 5:56 pm and is filed under The Rant. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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