You’re scouring the Internet for the right hotel. Good location? Check. Great rate? Check. Broadband? No. Next listing.

"Broadband in hotels is as important as broadband at home," Greg Ioffe, general manager of private broadband networks for Motorola‘s Home and Networks Mobility business, said.  "People will change hotels for access. It is an important amenity."

Ioffe said that back in 1997, when hotels first strung their guestrooms for broadband, few patrons made use of the service. "You didn’t need much," Ioffe said, speaking of bandwidth. "Only 5-7% used it."

Ten years later the landscape has changed dramatically. Business travelers and pleasure seekers have now come to expect their Internet connectivity and high tech entertainment systems to travel with them.

With that in mind, Motorola and Marriott have partnered to bring enhanced business and entertainment services to Marriott’s hotel guests. To do so, Marriott chose Motorola’s mT2a PowerBroadband system. That wireline connectivity platform, deployed via copper, has brought 50mb of bandwidth to over 15,000 Marriott-branded guestrooms.

"We are excited about the success we saw with the deployment of Motorola’s mT2a system into two of the largest Marriott branded hotels in the Washington, D.C. area and the 2000-room Orlando World Center,” Lou Paladeau, vice president of operations technology for Marriott, said in a statement. “While the primary application supported today is high-speed Internet access, the new broadband infrastructure will enable additional guest services such as IP TV, movie and video downloads voice-over-IP, wireless access and dual-mode cell phones.”

According to Motorola, an innovative feature of the mT2a PowerBroadband system is the m2 Wallplate that snaps on directly over existing telephone wall plates already mounted in hotel guestrooms. No additional wiring or rewiring is required. All power and broadband modules are contained within the Wallplate, eliminating the requirement for separate broadband modems and power supplies. 

How did Marriott chose this upgrade method? Ioffe described the process as far more consultative than in years past. Ioffee explained that while the customers became increasingly savvy so did the hotels. Now, instead of a chain simply accepting technology, they often have strong in-house technical experts who make the determination as to what will work best for the various entities. Hotels then make a call for vendor bids based on their needs and the needs of their guests.

With business services becoming a increasingly attractive market for the cable industry, operators should venture to bid. Bundling the upgrade of any hotel chain’s wireline infrastructure along with standard services could prove to be a lucrative niche.

Jenn Rinaldi

The Daily

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