Freemium broadband model aims to meet market demand

Monday, March 5th 2012
A new model of internet provision has been launched to deal with the demand for broadband in the hospitality industry.
Freemium broadband model aims to meet market demand
Customers in hotels and restaurants increasingly consider access to a broadband network an important part of their experience in the establishment, especially as mobile devices make it easier to use the internet in places such as these, technology and solutions provider iBAHN has claimed.

With this in mind, the company has attempted to deal with the issue of whether or not hotels and restaurants should offer free internet access to their customers by launching a new freemium model, a guest-sensitive connectivity solution which will offer hotels the opportunity to upgrade their Wi-Fi model.

It argued that while many customers expect free internet provision, this is becoming difficult for companies in the hospitality industry to offer given the increasingly large bandwidth needs involved in internet use.

As streaming video, games and music content become part of standard broadband usage, the speed and scale of hospitality broadband offers will need to increase, making it more difficult for firms to offer the service as complimentary.

Recent research by iBAHN found that the average data transferred by hotel guests in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) in 2011 was roughly 280Mb a day - but also revealed that some guests transferred up to 200Gb daily.

With this in mind, iBAHN's new system offers free broadband for low-bandwidth tasks such as checking emails, but also includes a premium services for guests planning to engage in more intensive internet usage.

Graeme Powell, managing director of iBAHN's EMEA operation, said: "We have been closely monitoring the rapid change in internet use by hotel guests, and have seen explosive growth in the use of multiple devices and a doubling in data transferred per session every year, which has made the free to guest model unrealistic for many hoteliers."

Spectrum Interactive recently secured a contract to roll out wireless broadband to the 600 Premier Inn hotels across the UK, cementing its ongoing relationship with the chain's parent company Whitbread.

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