Getting Better WiFi at Your Event: A Guide to Advocating for Third-Party Internet

event wifi rentalable third-party internet

Let’s say as an event planner, you’re gearing up for a big event, but you’re hitting a snag with the venue pushing their pricey (and UNRELIABLE) in-house internet. Well, don’t stress! We’ve got your back with some tips to help you stand your ground and get the internet setup that’s right for you, including advocating for third-party internet.

Know Your Rights:

First things first, let’s clear up a common misconception: you absolutely have the right to bring in your own internet provider. Yep, you heard that right! You’re not stuck with whatever the venue throws at you. 

1. Freedom to Choose

You’re not tied down to the venue’s internet offerings. Feel free to shop around for external WiFi options that fit your needs and budget better. In fact, it is your legal right to get your own third-party internet, despite what the venue may try and tell you. For more information on your legal rights, visit the FCC website to read about the Telecommunications Act of 1996. 

2. Saving Cash

External WiFi tends to be a lot friendlier on the wallet compared to the venue’s in-house deals. Who doesn’t love saving some money?

3. Reliable Connections

Don’t buy into the myth that in-house internet is more dependable. That’s actually far from the truth. External providers know their stuff and can offer top-notch service tailored to events like yours

Consider this hypothetical situation:

Let’s say you are attending a big game or concert at a venue that is sponsored by a large cellular provider like AT&T, Verizon or T-Mobile, and then imagine that provider announcing that you are not allowed to use the internet on your phone unless you are a customer of its service, and otherwise have to turn your data off. Absurd right? Of course it is, and it would likely land that sponsor provider in quite a bit of legal trouble. This is the EXACT same thing as an event venue telling you that you can only use their WiFi.

When you rent a third-party hotspot, you are connecting to networks from those same cellular providers and it is illegal for them to say you cannot. And it’s important to realize that some companies actually have gotten in trouble for blocking access to the internet. Smart City received a $750,000 FCC fine for blocking WiFI and Marriott received a $600,000 fine for doing the same thing at an event. 

Now that we’ve got your rights cleared up, let’s take a dive into how to advocate for those rights in the easiest way possible. 

Advocating for Third-Party Internet:

Now, let’s talk about how to make your case for bringing in your own WiFi crew.

1. Educate Yourself

Get clued up on the legal side of things. Knowing your rights inside out will give you the confidence to push for what you need.

2. Prepare Your Pitch

Gather evidence showing why third-party internet is the way to go. Whether it’s cost savings, better performance, or customization options, having facts on your side strengthens your argument.

3. Chat with the Venue

Start a convo with the venue early on. Be upfront about your plans to bring in your own internet squad and address any concerns they might have.

4. Sell the Benefits

Highlight all the perks of going with an external provider – faster speeds, happier exhibitors and attendees, and maybe even some extra cash in the bank.

5. Negotiate Like a Pro

Work out the nitty-gritty details with the venue, like logistics and fees. Additionally, get everything down in writing to avoid any mix-ups later on.

6. Buddy Up with a Good Provider

Forge a solid relationship with a trusted external internet provider who knows their stuff when it comes to event setups. Who is a great provider you ask? eTech of course! And we definitely know our stuff. 

7. Offer Support

Be there to lend a hand to venue staff if they need help coordinating with your chosen internet crew.

8. Check Your Success

After the event, take stock of how things went with your chosen WiFi setup. Did it deliver the goods? Make sure to gather feedback from everyone involved to fine-tune your approach for next time.

outdoor wifi router

While we hope taking these steps above is enough to convince your venue that you do in fact have the right to provide your own internet, you should be fully prepared to fight your case. We have a couple of documents here that go into to specific FCC public notices on this topic:

So there you have it – advocating for third-party internet doesn’t have to be a headache. Armed with the right know-how, you’ll be surfing the web smoothly at your next event in no time.

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