Feeds

BT reprograms biz customers as hotspots

Bandwidth so good they're charging for it twice

Boost IT visibility and business value

BT has begun transforming its commercial customers' Business Hubs into OpenZone hotspots for any passing Tom, Dick or Harry to share, and leaving businesses to figure out how to opt out of the scheme after the fact.

Under the scheme, 20,000 BT Business Broadband customers have already had their hubs upgraded, with another 200,000 being seconded into the OpenZone network over the next few months.

BT assures us that everyone received a notification e-mail providing details of how to opt out of the sharing arrangement.

The e-mail sent out to business customers explains that the hub will receive an overnight upgrade, warning the user to leave it switched on and so forth, before slipping in the exciting news, at paragraph four, that following the upgrade total strangers will be able to share their bandwidth:

"After the upgrade BT Openzone will be ENABLED, offering your visitors and customers secure, public wireless internet access using your Hub as a BT Openzone wireless hotspot."

BT reckons this is just want businesses want: they'll be able to resell OpenZone vouchers to visitors and make a few quid, as well as sharing their bandwidth with all and sundry.

We spoke to BT who passed on a press release that was apparently sent out to selected media (El Reg comms editor excluded, natch) at the end of January.

"Free BT public wi-fi hotspot for every business broadband customer" claims the release, proudly suggesting that "Hub owners buy BT Openzone access vouchers ... and can choose to pass the vouchers to their customers or resell the prime business service and add revenue", so you can either screw visitors to your office by selling them vouchers, or pay BT twice for the same bandwidth by giving them away.

BT claims the OpenZone users are securely separated from local users, and has the experience of Fon to back that up. But hitting customers twice for the same bandwidth is certainly a new low for the former-monopoly telco.

BT does offer instructions for turning off the hotspot, and the company isn't expecting customers to share their bandwidth for nothing. Assuming you don't disable the hotspot then you get entered into a prize draw and could be the lucky owner of an iPod Touch (8GB), or even a few hours of free OpenZone access - which might be useful if you're visiting a company that wants to sell you access.

Reg reader Tim was not convinced, telling us "I wouldn’t mind so much if we didn’t get such a paltry speed from our BT connection. Well, no, actually I would still mind then too."®

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

More from The Register

next story
Scotland's BIG question: Will independence cost me my broadband?
They can take our lives, but they'll never take our SPECTRUM
Bring back error correction, say Danish 'net boffins
We don't need no steenkin' TCP/IP retransmission and the congestion it causes
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
NBN Co adds apartments to FTTP rollout
Commercial trial locations to go live in September
Samsung Z Tizen OS mobe is post-phoned – this time for good?
Russian launch for Sammy's non-droid knocked back
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
What FTC lawsuit? T-Mobile US touts 10GB, $100 family-of-4 plan
Folks 'could use that money for more important things' says CEO Legere
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.