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4 Stars, But No Wireless

2:30 PM -- The best, or at least the most popular, question of the day at the Mobile and Wireless World show in Orlando, Fla., was put to Barry Shuler, the CTO of Marriott International, who had just given a presentation on Marriott's efforts to provide "innovative services" for guests in the hundreds of Marriott properties worldwide.

"How come when I stay at a 49-dollar-a-night Days Inn or La Quinta," asked an IT manager in the audience, "it seems like there's always ubiquitous, free wireless Internet. But when I check in to a nice hotel, like this," (gesturing at the posh surroundings of the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes) "there's usually limited or no wireless connectivity in the room, and I have to sign on with one of a dozen providers and pay extra for it?"

Instant applause. Shuler, an amiably wry guy, admitted (off the record, but hey) that he felt the same way. Then he said it's essentially supply and demand -- and that "full-service" properties like the Ritz will eventually get around to offering free, ubiquitous wireless, along with a tiered, for-pay service for those who need to download video in their rooms.

— Richard Martin, Senior Editor, Unstrung

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