I've travelled a lot this year in Canada and in the USA and have been delighted with the access I've had to high speed connections in the hotels I've chosen.
I stayed at the Delta Calgary South this weekend and was very impressed with the internet service: it seemed to be faster than my cable connection at my home office, and I was able to use my regular mail software to send as well as receive messages.
My neighborhood Safeway is now offering free wi-fi in the seated area next to the Starbucks kiosk in the store. One can now pause before, during or after shopping and access the web with a laptop or phone.
Most of the coffee shops I spend time at provide free wi-fi while others provide it through a third party on an hourly basis. One coffee shop in my area has a once-only charge: the staff charge a fee to provide a login code for you which will work every time you visit them.
Free wi-fi really means wi-fi at no extra charge to the user. We as users of these services are expected by the merchants to buy coffee or other products while we're online – and we do.
Later this fall I'll be able to use wi-fi on VIA Rail as I travel from Toronto to Windsor. Soon at least several airlines will offer the same service.
Wireless internet service will become as common and as accessible as wireless service for cell phones. While some people may feel that this could intrude on their lives we should remember that computers, like cell phones, can be turned off easily. We always have choices, and with wi-fi becoming more common we now have more of them.