Holiday Cottage - WiFi

30 Sep 2009
Posted by admin

WIFI access for Holiday Cottage guests – 5 action tips

A quick straw poll of holiday cottages in the Peak District suggests that almost 60% now offer Wireless Internet Access for their guests. It’s easy to understand why. Even though they may be on holiday, guests still demand access to their bank accounts, emails, and social media websites. Perhaps this is a whole new research project in its own right but, for this article, we’re concentrating on the Holiday Cottage owner who, in trying to remain competitive by providing access to a Broadband connection, is potentially compromising the agreement with the Internet Service Provider.
There are several potential scenarios to consider in evaluating the risks involved in providing Internet access to paying guests. The accommodation may be entirely self contained and benefit from a dedicated Broadband connection or there may be multiple cottages being served by a single Broadband connection. Either way it is probable that the Holiday cottage owner, as opposed to the guest, is contracted to the ISP and therefore bound by myriad Fair Usage Policies, Acceptable Use Policies and other associated codes of practice. So just how can you ensure that you do not become the recipient of an ISP’s warning letter or worse still a visit from the local constabulary? Let’s look at the principle problems first and then offer some appropriate solutions which will cover the majority of potential guest’s misuse of a connection.

Problems fall into three main categories;

1. Illegal activities such as publishing, distributing, circulating or otherwise propagating any material which may be deemed illegal, abusive, offensive, anti-social, racist, distressing, harmful or threatening. Also sending or knowingly receiving emails that contain abusive, offensive or illegal content. The sending of emails for the purpose of harming minors in any way is also considered illegal activity.

2. Disruptive activities such as sending or uploading any material that contains viruses, Trojan horses, worms, time-bombs, keystroke loggers, spyware, adware or any other harmful programs or similar computer code designed to adversely affect the operation of any computer software or hardware or to gather information on any person without their explicit consent. Port scanning activities are also considered as disruptive activities.

3. Activities which could cause temporary or even permanent loss of your Internet connection. In August of 2009 the Digital Britain Report recommended wide ranging penalties for “illegal file sharing activities” which the current government intend to make law before May 2010. File sharing or P2P usage has become the most common way of exchanging music and video some legally, but much, illegally. The download or exchange of music or video which breaches copyright may be enforced through the permanent disconnection of the Broadband service.

So what can you do to mitigate the risks of your Internet connection’ potential misuse whilst still offering the standard of service which your guests demand?

Here is our 5 point to-do list designed to help you

1. Get yourself a well written Guests Internet Service provision document and make sure it’s part of your welcome pack. Make sure it’s not packed with off-putting legalese and is concise. Alternatively use the version we have produced.

2. Be specific about your expectations for the use of your Internet connection at the time of booking. Whilst it might put off the odd guest, it will at least ensure that you do not get guests whose intention is to use your connection for precisely the activity you do not want.

3. Ensure that you install a good quality router/firewall which permits the blocking of certain types of Internet traffic. Whilst some consumer routers are capable of this function, many are not. You will then need to configure the router to block specific services. This can be an onerous process but worth the effort. If it all seems too much simply get in touch with us and for a small fee we can remotely configure these settings for you. Alternatively click here for the most common port settings to block.

4. Regularly check your Internet usage. Most ISP’s offer this service allowing you to see if higher levels of Internet usage are being incurred. Check the router statistics also, as many good routers will give you this data in real time. If set-up properly you can do this from any location. Significantly higher than normal usage is a good indicator that someone is possibly using P2P file sharing services.

5. Lastly; if you suspect that your connection is being used in an illegal or disruptive manner, turn off the service. The genuine user will likely contact you and query what the problem might be whereas the bogus user is much less likely to do so. Also, make sure to note the dates and times of the suspected service misuse, together with the guests details such that any subsequent ISP or law enforcement contact can be pre handled effectively.

If you would like to know more then call us on 01298 808182 or 07815 060868 or email us on info@etrp.co.uk.



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