Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends
How new technologies are modifying our way of life

lundi 29 décembre 2003

Several days ago, I told you that Wi-Fi access was not worth $10/hour (see also Slashdot). Many comments said that business people will pay these $10/hour. But how many of them will be necessary to make such a service profitable? Never enough! Anyway, my prime target was tourists traveling anywhere in the world, and who find that cybercafes lack privacy. I have a perfect solution for you: it's a prepaid Internet access card. It is available worldwide, costs about $1/hour and works like a charm. In John Rob's words, this is how I *hacked* my connection in Greece.

So, I'm enjoying some vacation time in Lesvos, Greece. And even if the island is great, and tourist-empty, it also rains a lot. During these rainy moments, I would like to be able to check (*clean* would be a better word) my e-mail boxes, read the press, or, let's dream, even publish a story.

How can I do it here?

Like everywhere in Greece, and in the vast majority of countries in the world, you can buy Internet Access cards. Here, they cost 8 euros for 10 hours or 15 euros for 20 hours. These cards come with a local phone number to come, a username printed on the card, and a password you reveal by scratching the card. You create a new network connection, you enter the parameters above, you call the local number. And bingo! you're are on the Internet. Very neat when it works.

Sometimes, you'll hit a few bumps, like to get an outside line in an hotel, or introduce a pause long enough for your modem to access this outside line. Sometimes, you'll find such an antiquated PBX in your hotel that you'll have to beg for a direct line. Believe me, this works only off season.

And what about costs?

As I said previously, this kind of prepaid Internet access cards is available worldwide. So the costs might vary, but you should expect to pay around $1 per hour. Also depending on the country you're in, you should add the hourly cost of a local phone call. In Europe, it's about $2 per hour. So we are speaking of a total cost of $3 per hour. And for this price, similar to many cybercafes, you benefit from the *comfort* of your room. And more importantly, from a better privacy.

Finally, for this price, what kind of connection do you get?

You'll be pleasantly surprised. Most of the time, your connection will be fast enough to do all what you're used to at home. Except if you want to download a Microsoft security patch or the latest version of Knoppix.

Many technologies are over-hyped. This one is simple, cheap and works. What else would you like on the road?

Source: Roland Piquepaille

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