A column at a CPA site noted that a software developer's conference venue told attendees it would cost $600 for Wi-Fi access for the week of the event: The San Diego Convention Center must have been wearing the wrong hat. Convention exhibitors are typically charged exorbitant rates by incumbent third-party contractors who manage hotel and convention center Internet access. A phone line costs a small fortune; a T-1 line a large fortune. Even Wi-Fi is charged at high rates.
I'm guessing that the San Diego folks gave out the wrong price card for attendees at the Sage Software event, and surely Sage had nothing to do with it. They later offered $4.95 per hour access, which is not as awful, but is ridiculous.
Don't these venues understand that 3G is on the way and even being installed in their venues to boost reception? Don't they know that EVDO, even if slower than a Wi-Fi feed, will typically be used by people who pay for unlimited monthly transfers? Everyone I know would take "no additional charge" and 200 to 400 Kbps downstream over "$4.95 per hour" and 500 Kbps to 1.5 Mbps any time. (The key is downstream: If you need the uplink speed, 3G can't cut it.)