BT have 4 million WiFi hotspots in the UK…

…and I’ve yet to find one that actually works.

According to BT’s own Pay Per Click advertising campaign – they have 4 million hotspots in the UK, touting their network as providing ‘flexible Wi-Fi access that meets your needs’. Surely the fundamental ‘need’ would be a working network? BT are catering for the strong growth in public use of WiFi hotspots with figures more than doubling in 3 years, from just under 2m users in 2008 to just under 5m in 2011. [source: Office of National Statistics, August 2011]

BT Free WiFi

Or are they? I’m with the mobile network O2 who have an arrangement with BT Openzone that entitles me to “…unlimited public Wi-Fi (through BT Openzone)”. Apparently, “this gives you access to Wi-Fi hotspots so you can use these rather than using your data allowance.”

I, nor any of those I’ve ever consulted with (read: grumbled to), have been able to access the elusive BT Openzone networks. I’m usually met with a like-minded rant about having to switch WiFi off when out and about.

Honestly, I can live without the added ‘bonus’ of free hotspot access as 3G coverage in Edinburgh is mostly strong. What annoys me is when I try to use my smartphone for its intended purpose, mobile browsing whilst out and about, only to find it hangs due to BT’s Openzone network being very much closed.

Anyone else have a similar gripe with BT Openzone free WiFi hotspots? Are other networks performing better?

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  • Ewan McCowen

    I found a working one once! Can’t remember where. I was on a bus. It stopped at a bus stop. My phone tapped in to a BTOpenZone hotspot (I get ‘1GB public wifi’ through my Voda contract) and I managed to browse the internet for a full 45 seconds! It was amazing