Old problems surface one last time at Web Summit
Wifi connections and cost of food and accommodation issues for attendees
Model Natalia Vodianova speaking on ‘challenging misconceptions’ at the Web Summit. Photograph: Eric Luke
Dell founder and chief executive officer of Michael Dell at the Web Summit. Photograph: Eric Luke
Silicon Valley Robotics managing director Andra Keay at the Web Summit. Photograph: Eric Luke
Oculus VR founder Palmer Luckey at the Web Summit. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire
The Web Summit may soon be departing for sunnier climes, but at its final year in Dublin, it was the same old problems arising again.
Co-founder Paddy Cosgrave had previously criticised Dublin’s infrastructure, high-cost hotels and the poor wifi in the RDS, before the decision to move the event to Lisbon in 2016 was made.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Cosgrave said there were some traffic-calming measures around the RDS, but the Web Summit was encouraging as many of the 40,000 attendees as possible to walk to the RDS to skip the snarl-up.
The summit, he said, just got too big for the city.
The wifi, which caused so many problems last year that Mr Cosgrave vented his frustrations from the event’s main stage, held up a little better this time, outsourced to a third party by the summit’s management. After an initial positive start, however, attendees began to complain of being unable to get online at various times throughout the day, or suffered slow access when they did get a connection.
Still, there may have been reasons for that: Mr Cosgrave took to Twitter to announce more than a terabyte of data had been downloaded on the conference wifi before lunch.
There may have been another surprise for veterans of the summit. The Food Summit, which was introduced a few years ago, was once included with tickets for the conference. This year, attendees were being asked to pay €20 a day for a meal and a drink, or €50 for the three days, with tokens being handed out for the event.
Hotels around the city were mostly sold out for the duration of the summit, but prices were again a talking point. Some conference attendees, who did not want to be named, said they found accommodation was more expensive than they had anticipated. One business owner, who had booked early for this year’s trip, said the nearby hotel’s prices were higher than she expected.
Although there were a few rooms left at a handful of hotels around Dublin, prices were running at several hundred euro for the last-minute rooms.