Many broadband users can now get online at more than a million BT Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK, according to an announcement by BT.
The BT Wi-Fi network is accessible to BT broadband and BT mobile broadband customers with inclusive Wi-Fi minutes, and is also open to casual Wi-Fi users on a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) basis.
In the last eight months, BT has signed UK deals to provide O2, Orange and Vodafone iPhone customers with BT Openzone Wi-Fi access. O2 mobile broadband customers can also access the BT Openzone network.
BT Openzone and BT FON
BT’s Wi-Fi network is made up of the BT FON Wi-Fi community, BT Openzone hotspots and 16 ‘wireless’ city centres.
BT FON Wi-Fi community
The vast majority (860,000) of BT’s Wi-Fi hotspots are BT FON public Wi-Fi hotspots broadcast by BT Home Hubs. With BT FON, BT broadband customers can choose to securely share a portion of their Wi-Fi bandwidth through a separate channel on their wireless router with other members who are in range of their wireless router.
Because it operates on a separate channel, public use of a BT FON wireless hotspot does not affect the BT customer’s personal broadband usage.
Other BT Wi-Fi hotspots mainly comprise BT Business Hubs broadcasting a BT Openzone public Wi-Fi signal and BT Openzone hotspots in popular UK and Ireland locations such as cafes and hotels. Well-known brands offering BT Openzone access include Hilton hotels, Caffe Nero and Starbucks coffee shops and British Airways airport lounges.
BT wireless city centres
BT offers public wireless networks in 12 city centres across the UK. This means you can get online wherever you are in the city centre, even if you’re outdoors.
BT wireless city centres include areas of London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Newcastle.
How to access Wi-Fi networks
You can find out all you need to know about getting online via Wi-Fi hotspots when you’re out and about in the Which? guide to Wi-Fi hotspots.
A Wi-Fi hotspot is a public wireless access point, where you can connect to the internet at fast broadband speeds, similar to using a wireless router at home.
As well as BT, rivals such as The Cloud also offer UK Wi-Fi hotspot networks.
To get online using Wi-Fi hotspots you’ll need a wireless-enabled mobile phone or laptop, such as those featured in the Which? laptops review.
You’ll also need access to a Wi-Fi service. BT and The Cloud both let you buy vouchers to access their Wi-Fi networks. But before you buy, check whether Wi-Fi access is already included in your deal with your broadband or mobile broadband provider.
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