BT has announced that it has reached its goal of building a million-strong Wi-Fi hotspot network. Now the largest network in the UK and Ireland, the hotspots are available in homes, independent businesses, high street chains and major city centres.
BT Wi-Fi users are also on track to spend more than a billion Wi-Fi minutes online this year (April09 – 31 Mar10), a peak attributed in part to the massive growth in UK iPhone traffic. In the last eight months, BT has signed UK deals to provide O2, Orange and Vodafone iPhone customers with BT Openzone Wi-Fi access.
Gavin Patterson, chief executive officer, BT Retail, said: “Whether at home, at work, or when out and about, wireless access is central to keeping people and communities better connected. We’ve grown from 500,000 to one million hotspots within six months, and will continue to add more to meet demand from smart-phone, laptop, iPod and now e-reader users.”
The million-strong Wi-Fi estate comprises hotspots from the BT FON Wi-Fi Community, BT Openzone, plus BT Openzone hotspots via the BT Business Hub.
Well-known brands offering access include Hilton, Thistle, Ramada Jarvis and Macdonald hotel chains, Caffe Nero and Starbucks coffee stores, Welcome Break and RoadChef Costa service stations, British Airways, Star Alliance, American Airlines and SkyTeam airport lounges plus other UK transport hubs.
Five million BT consumer and business broadband – plus BT Mobile Broadband – customers have inclusive Wi-Fi minutes in their contracts to surf, work or make cheaper VoIP calls. Casual users can buy access from as little as 1/2p per minute. BT Openzone customers can access a further 65,000 hotspots in the UK and overseas through international roaming partners. BT FON members have access to another 225,000 FON (hot) spots in the UK and worldwide.