Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Can Hotels Afford to Upgrade Bandwidth?

Hotel and motel operators have a dilemma on their hands. Their guests have embraced Internet broadband and have become accustomed to fast Web surfing and the ability to watch streaming and downloaded videos. But hotel broadband tends to be at the lower end of the broadband spectrum, with speeds often under 1 Mbps. The logical move is to simply upgrade bandwidth to meet customer expectations. But is that even practical in this business environment? Especially when hotel guests expect broadband service to be free?

The problem is obviously cost, or at least perceived cost. If 500 Kbps average service costs a certain amount, then it is logical that 1, 2, 5 or 10 Mbps is going to cost proportionally more. All you have to do is determine by what factor you want to increase your bandwidth and then multiply your budget by that amount, right? It makes sense, but it isn't necessarily so. In fact, in at least a few cases you may well be able to get higher broadband speeds for less money. In the hotel business, that's just pure profit.

So how does one seemingly get more for less? The answer has more to do with where you are getting your broadband service and when you committed to it than the raw speed level itself.

In this fast moving world, we tend to forget that broadband Internet is a fairly recent development. Mass Internet use began with external dial-up modems. Remember when some guests would put the telephone handset on a box with rubber cups for the mouthpiece and earpiece? The next step was the dedicated port jack on the side of the phone so guests could plug-in their modem equipped laptops and dial a local access number. Then came wired broadband as a premium service and now everyone expects their room to be a free WiFi hotspot.

The point of this history review is that it hasn't been that many years since many hotels and motels signed contracts for wireless broadband installation and line service. Many of those contracts are now coming due or have just continued past the expiration date because nobody has challenged them. But broadband line services are a lot like telephone lines. You may have had only one choice when you began your service, but now there are a wealth of competitors all eager to vie for your business.

Hotel managers aren't expected to be telecom experts. Many hotels may not even have a technology expert on staff. Often, the job of installing and maintaining PBX telephone systems and WiFi access points is subcontracted to a VAR or Value Added Reseller. This VAR may also resell the line services or refer you to the local phone company. Either way, you are probably not paying the best rate possible for either your telephone or Internet services.

What's a better approach? Let an industry specialist, a telecom broker such as Telarus, Inc., assist you in finding the competing carriers that serve your location and provide you with a list of their best offers. It's a fast and easy process. Most of the heavy lifting in seeking out carriers and rates has been automated through specialized tools, such as the GeoQuote (tm) telecom services search engine. You can use this yourself online or call a toll free number for complementary assistance.

Another thing to keep in mind is that technology has advanced since broadband has made its debut. In addition to DSL, Satellite and T1 line solutions, Carrier Ethernet has become available with availability in metro areas and very attractive pricing. T1 lines can be bonded for higher bandwidths. Their prices have also come down dramatically in the last few years. The combination of more competition in the field and better search tools means you could easily be paying less for broadband service than you are now.

Click to check pricing and features or get support from a Telarus product specialist.

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