Even those of us who love to get away from it all on the family vacation — say getting back to nature by camping — dread the return to the office and downloading hundreds, if not thousands, of waiting messages (and spam). The folks at Kampgrounds of America don’t want you to have to wait.
Partnering with public-access Wi-Fi provider Hotspotzz — a division of Salt Lake City, Utah-based Internet service provider IKANO — KAO will be providing for-a-fee Internet access at its affiliated campgrounds for those who bring along a laptop or PDA with built-in 802.11b.
According to Debbie LaBelle, marketing director for Hotspotzz, right now there are three KOA test locations up and running with Wi-Fi: Billings, Mont. (where the KOA is based); Albuquerque, N.M.; and Nashville, Tenn. They expect to have 100 of the 500 KOA franchises equipped with wireless access by the end of the year.
The hotspot service is freely available for subscribers to KOA Konnect, a dial-up ISP from KOA (the service is also powered by IKANO). KOA Konnect users already pay $19.95 per month (or $18.95 for KOA Value Kard holders). Use of the KOA hotspots is included for any regular Hotspotzz subscriber. As you’d expect, KOA Konnect users can also use Hotspotzz locations that are nowhere near a tent or porta-potty.
For those not looking to subscribe, the KOA locations will sell scratch cards offering access at one hour for $4 or a 24 hours span for $8.
The campground hotspots will be connected to the Internet using digital subscriber lines (DSL). LaBelle says “At this point, not all camps can get DSL. We’ll get an alternative solution based on location,” which could be cable modem, satellite, or even fixed wireless as needed.
Currently Hotspotzz locations aren’t freely accessible to subscribers of hotspot aggregator services like Boingo Wireless. LaBelle says Hotspotzz is “starting to get into that… we’re negotiating with a couple of them.”