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Home broadband customers slow to take advantage of the Wi-Fi broadband revolution

Most households clearly understand the benefits of home broadband, but Simplifydigital research shows that the great majority of broadband users are unaware of the huge potential benefits of free Wi-Fi access when they are away from home.

By on September 08, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Home broadband customers slow to take advantage of the Wi-Fi broadband revolution
  • Few customers understand the benefits already freely available;
  • Home broadband customers can enjoy web access for free when they are out and about with faster connection for smartphones and laptops than via 3G;
  • BT leads the way with others soon to join the party.


As Charlie Ponsonby, CEO of explains:  "We talk to thousands of new broadband customers every month and very few are aware of the potential benefits of choosing a broadband provider with free Wi-Fi access away from home".

What is Wi-Fi broadband?

Wi-Fi broadband is often confused with wireless broadband (a term which refers to the use of a wireless router within the home to allow you to connect wirelessly without a cable).
Wi-Fi broadband access refers to broadband access available via "wireless hotspots" outside the home (e.g. in a coffee shop).    There are many thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots around the UK, run by a myriad of providers.  Some are free and some charge for access.
But few people realize that now you may be eligible for free Wi-Fi access if you pay for a home broadband connection at home.

What are the potential benefits of Wi-Fi broadband?

Wi-Fi broadband operates on the same principle as your wireless router at home.  Each hotpsot effectively has a powerful wireless router connected to a fixed line broadband connection.  As a result the broadband service is often faster and more reliable than a 3G broadband connection picked up on your mobile phone or via a dongle. 
In addition there are no problems with restricted data download limits, as is the case with 3G broadband.  Hence as mobile phone providers start to charge for data usage, switching to a broadband connection at a Wi-Fi hotspot, will mean that you do not exceed your data limit. 
Charlie Ponsonby continues:
"If you are out and about and need a fast and reliable internet connection on your smartphone or laptop, then a Wi-Fi hotspot is likely to provide a far better experience than using your 3G broadband access on your phone or via a dongle." 

Which home broadband provider offers the best Wi-Fi broadband access?

BT and to a lesser extent O2 lead the way in the free provision of Wi-Fi broadband access outside the home.
BT Total (home) Broadband customers have free access to over 3 million BT Wi-Fi hotspots.  This includes both BT Fon hotspots provided by BT Broadband customers who are part of the BT Fon community and nearly 5,000 BT Openzone hotspots outside the home, at places such as Starbucks, Hilton and Heineken pubs.  
In addition O2 home broadband customers who are also O2 mobile phone customers can benefit from free access to the BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots, plus a further 5,000 hotspots provided by The Cloud - making a total of nearly 10,000 hotspots.
BT and O2 provide Wi-Fi hotspot availability maps on their websites

Notes to Editors: offers a free and impartial "Switching Support" service for anyone looking to get a digital TV, broadband or phone package.

Its London-based impartial experts are available for free over the phone, to answer all those tricky questions and match the family's needs to the best deal available.'s experts are available for free on 0800 1 388 388 seven days a week (Lines open Mon-Fri 8am-8pm; Saturday 9am-5:30pm; Sunday 10-5:30pm).
You can also use's Ofcom accredited comparison engine online at

*20% of customers saved £445 or more. Sample of 1,123 customers  Jan 2011 - June 2011.

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