Reporters covering tonight’s presidential debate from Long Island’s Hofstra University were met with an unwelcome surprise: Just to get online with a basic WiFi connection from the debate venue costs $200, as confirmed by Business Insider reporters on the scene.
Worse yet, Hofstra has warned journalists over a loudspeaker not to use any personal WiFi hotspots, like Verizon’s Jetpack or the Karma — and, according a tweet from Politico’s Kenneth Vogel, Hofstra is actually sending people around with hand-held to search for the offending hotspots and disable them.
Charging journalists for a WiFi connection at the debates isn’t a new practice, though Hofstra demanded less at the 2012 debates. And judging from these reports, it seems like Hofstra has gotten more aggressive this time out about enforcing a ban on personal WiFi devices.
You can iew Hofsftra’s rate card for media services at the debate here. In addition to the $200 WiFi, Hofstra is charging $325 for a tethered internet connection, or $600 for the wired internet plus a landline telephone. For a mere $3,500, you can have a team of up to 20 all get onto the WiFi with unlimited devices between them.