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BT slips out BTOpenzone hotspots

Public WLAN plan

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BT has unveiled the first wireless "hotspots" ahead of the commercial launch of its Public Access Wireless LAN network later in the summer.

The hotspots - dubbed "BTOpenzones" - give people broadband access on the move.

The first BTOpenzones are at the Heathrow Hilton, BT Centre in London and the company's development centre at Adastral Park, Suffolk.

It's also lined up deals with the Bluewater shopping centre in Kent and Earl's Court Olympia in London. Discussions are also underway to trial the service at the Travel Inn in Euston, London.

BT plans to have up to 20 hotspots working by August 1, the date of the service's commercial launch.

Around 70 should be in place by the end of the year with 400 hotspots dotted around the country by this time next year. By June 2005 BT hopes to have created some 4,000 hotspots.

Pricing for the service has yet to be finalised, but it looks like full on, unmetered access is going to set back punters around £95 (+VAT) a month.

A pay-as-you-go pricing plan is likely to cost around 10p (+VAT) a minute.

There is also an option of paying a one-off fee in return for unlimited usage over a fixed number of hours.

BT and Motorola are currently trialling the service although the telco says it already has some corporate customers interested in the service. ®

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