Feeds

It’s Wi-Fi free week with BT

Openzone madness at end of Jan

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

For all those itching to put their Wi-Fi Xmas presents to good use, this month will give you the chance to browse the Web and send emails for free.

BT is offering a week’s free wireless broadband over its Openzone network at the end of the month (usually it’s £6 an hour or £85 a month limitless).

From 26 January to 1 February, you only have to register with Openzone to be granted a week’s unlimited access. And that is “without time limits” as opposed to BT’s 50-hours-a-month definition of “unlimited” for dial-up access.

Intel is also diverting a bit of its enormous marketing budget for the Centrino wireless chipset to coincide with BT’s offer.

At the same time, BT has (finally) introduced a pay-as-you-go tariff of 20p a minute - still hugely expensive but a step forward - and slashed the cost of its wireless access point (aimed at getting small to medium businesses to introduce Wi-Fi in their offices) from £400 to £250.

With both BT and Intel spending a lot of money pushing wireless access, they clearly feel the time is right to go for the wider consumer market. Businessmen have grown used to wireless access at airports, hotels and the like but BT has been working exhaustingly at introducing wireless points across the rest of the country so it becomes far more ubiquitous.

Only yesterday it officially announced a tie-in with McDonalds to install points in all its restaurants. If anything was a symbol of going for the mainstream market, is it surely that.

BT owns 400+ wireless points but has deals meaning its customers can use 1,700 across the country. And it has announced a target of 4,000 by this summer.

The problem though, as BT knows only too well, is that people need to sign up. There are huge estimates for how many people will be using wireless in a few years but with a relatively low number of devices capable of receiving and sending data over the 802.11 protocol, prices are currently high and so people are disinclined to use it.

It is a vicious circle BT is trying to break. A previous BT offer in September 2003 tried to drive the pick-up of Wi-Fi goods when it offered 90-days free access if you bought a Dell laptop with Intel’s Centrino chipset.

If BT can get people to sign up, they not only have the kit but will able to connect simply to its network. Get the ball rolling and more people will use the expanding infrastructure, which means the price of access will get lower, bringing in more people. And so on and so forth. Plus of course, it will give BT a steal on the market.

In fact, it’s a little incredible that BT hasn’t been accused of abusing its position by competitors, as is often the case in every other area of telecommunications - sometimes with good reason.

However this is all good news for the UK - it gives a very clear signal of the biggest telecoms company’s commitment and so should provide piece of mind and some stability. The UK is already well ahead in its adoption of Wi-Fi, second only to the US - the US has around 13,000 hotspots, the UK 4,000, Japan and Germany (next up) less than 1,000.

BT's announcement has already sparked another company specialising in installing Wi-Fi kit in new properties to produce its own press release. “HSO, one of the UK's leading integrated communications suppliers, welcomes the move by BT to stage Wireless Broadband Week,” it reads, “but feels that a huge opportunity will be missed if significant emphasis is not placed on educating the business and commercial property sectors alongside consumer markets.” You won’t be surprised to hear that HSO works in the business and commercial property sectors.

So if you have a new PDA with Wi-Fi or you’ve got a wireless laptop, you’ve got nothing to lose - once you’ve found your local hotspot of course. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
YOU are the threat: True confessions of real-life sysadmins
Who will save the systems from the men and women who save the systems from you?
Download alert: Nearly ALL top 100 Android, iOS paid apps hacked
Attack of the Clones? Yeah, but much, much scarier – report
Broadband sellers in the UK are UP TO no good, says Which?
Speedy network claims only apply to 10% of customers
Virgin Media struck dumb by NATIONWIDE packet loss balls-up
Turning it off and on again fixes glitch 12 HOURS LATER
Ofcom snatches 700MHz off digital telly, hands it to mobile data providers
Hungry mobe'n'slab-waving Blighty swallows spectrum
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Facebook, working on Facebook at Work, works on Facebook. At Work
You don't want your cat or drunk pics at the office
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Managing SSL certificates with ease
The lack of operational efficiencies and compliance pitfalls associated with poor SSL certificate management, and how the right SSL certificate management tool can help.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.