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How Much to Cover the Oscars? 500 Bucks. Or There’s Dial-Up.

TheWrap got a seat in the press room for the Oscars. And here’s what it costs to get one of those newfangled “high-speed” digital gadgets that’s become all the rage: $500. Yup. $500. Or else you can use dial-up. It already cost this much two years ago, when I last covered the Oscars for The […]

TheWrap got a seat in the press room for the Oscars. And here’s what it costs to get one of those newfangled “high-speed” digital gadgets that’s become all the rage: $500.

Yup. $500.

Or else you can use dial-up.

It already cost this much two years ago, when I last covered the Oscars for The New York Times. And I couldn’t believe it then.

Imagine my amazement when, returning to cover the Oscars this year, I learned that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences apparently thinks it is still 2001 and some kind of space odyssey is implied by the words “wireless internet connection.”

This morning I was awakened by a pleasant call from an AT&T operator who asked me if I was interested in a “high-speed internet line” for the press room.

How much? I asked.

She responded with this run-down: 

Dynamic IP address – $62 for the month.

Modem – $49

Technician install – $200

Business line installation – $67.21

Monthly fee -$18.50 

DSL service – $135.00

Total – $531.71

I choked, and then I laughed out loud as I remembered: oh yes, it’s the Academy.

What about wireless? I inquired innocently.

“We don’t have any wireless DSL available,” said the operator, with an apparently-straight face.

In the course of my hiatus from Hollywood, I traveled the world.

There is wireless internet service available in most any upper Egyptian coffeehouse for a handful of piasters. In Turkey, I paid the equivalent of a buck for an hour of Internet service in a dusty Anatolian town near a bunch of Greek ruins. I’m pretty sure that in the airport in Kuala Lumpur you can pay a few ringgits and be on the world wide web.

But in the middle of the busiest part of the most industrialized city in this state, it still costs $500 for the use of a high-speed phone line for four hours to cover that lumbering old two-toed sloth, the Academy Awards.

But it's still the Oscars. So we went out and bought a $50 monthly subscription to a mobile, wireless gadget made by Verizon. Fits right into the computer.

Works for us.