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BT change to unlimited Wi-Fi on Total Broadband packages
Monday 21 June 2010 10:22:49 by John Hunt

BT have announced a move to unlimited Wi-Fi for Total Broadband customers who use BT FON and BT Openzone hotspots to access the Internet when away from home. Previously, customers were limited by the amount of minutes available depending on their which BT Total Broadband Option they had chosen. BT will also be releasing a downloadable application will let users find one of the 1.5m hotspots.

"Because of the growing number of BT customers with mobile devices such as tablet computers and smartphones, we know that mobile access to the internet is needed more than ever before. Now that operators like O2 are rationing 3G, BT Total Broadband customers can find fast Wi-Fi connections all over the UK’s towns and cities with unlimited internet access from 1.5 million hotspots.

Our BT Fon and BT Openzone networks expanded by 800,000 hotspots during 2009 and we expect to have over 2.5m hotspots by the end of 2011. This continuing level of expansion means that these networks are rapidly becoming the simplest way for people to access the internet when out and about. And not only is this level of Wi-Fi coverage unique to BT, it’s automatically included with our BT Total Broadband options."

John Petter, (Consumer Managing Director) BT Retail

Of course, it's not quite as simple as offering completely 'unlimited' access. The BT FON Wi-Fi access is actually limited to 10,000 minutes a month (almost a weeks continuous usage). Above this and users will find their access suspended until next month.

Update 11:24

The new free unlimited Wi-Fi does not apply to business users on the BT Business Total Broadband packages. These products come with a specific amount of minutes of Wi-Fi use.


Posted by rian over 6 years ago
Pretty good, base on the number of BT hotspot, the signal coverage might even better than 3G somehow.
Posted by TonyHoyle over 6 years ago
Remember most of those hotspots are as a result of BT Broadband customers as each HomeHub creates a FON hotspot - even if it's inside a house and there's no significant wifi signal reaching outside (eg. where I am there's 3 in the flats around, but once you get in the car park that drops to zero).. BT should be counting *real* hotspots - in hotels, train stations, cafes, etc. and I bet there's only a fraction of those.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
most people I know turn off the hotspot option on their routers in case it slows down their connection? Is this commonplace I wonder?
Posted by inkpen over 6 years ago
I've met 2 BT "total broadband" customers who were completely unaware that up to half their broadband bandwidth was continuously available as a BT WiFi hotspot, courtesy of the BT supplied router, and another who was aware but thought that it was a pre-requisite of BT broadband and it didn't really matter. (it's been handy for me as I've been able to use the hotspots!) I wonder what proportion of BT customers (many of them elderley and vulnerable) realise that they are being used in this way...
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
Openzone only uses a maximum of 500k, and it does not reserve it. If you have an 8Mb connection, and no one is connected, you will still get 8Mb.

If you are on a long line with only 1Mb/512k, then the user gets priority over the freeloader.
Posted by jrawle over 6 years ago
Last week we hear the ASA are going to clamp down on the use of "unlimited", now BT are advertising unlimited wifi that's actually limited to 10,000 minutes. Why not find a more honest way to advertise what is undoubtedly an enhanced product?
Posted by jrawle over 6 years ago
I understood access to wifi for BT customers was conditional on joining "Fon" and allowing their router to be used as a hotspot. If they disable it, surely they are in breach of the T&Cs if they continue to use wifi when out and about?
Posted by john (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
Just made a small update to note that this only applies to home users and not business users on the BT Business Total Broadband packages.
Posted by cyberdoyle over 6 years ago
the people I talk to don't use open wifi, they are all elderly and just use a bt connection at home. their connections only get under a meg so we turn off openzone just to be on the safe side. also an added worry to them is that people might use their connection to fileshare, so better safe than sorry is the way we look at it. turn it off.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
I would still prefer 3G over a BT connection any day.
Posted by nmg196 over 6 years ago
> people might use their connection to fileshare

The Openzone hotspot runs over a separate IP address. If anyone uses your router to do evil it will show up on the open hotspot's IP address - not your own.
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
Openzone runs a VPN which you have to login to, they have your login details so if naughty stuff is done, it is assigned to the end users.

Also, when they connect it is on a seperate subnet, meaning they cannot access your side of the network.

TBH, its pointless really, by default the hubs use a numbers only WEP/WPA key using PSK, can be cracked in under a minute after capturing a handshake with idctionary attack...
Posted by mattbibby over 6 years ago
Ha! I find it quite amusing that many people are happy to share their broadband with the public on behalf of BT and are still willing to pay the over inflated prices!
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Much better off getting this, pays and gets :

Not sure if the smaller one pays but the bigger one does and gives you BT FON minutes.
Posted by pjsmith over 6 years ago
BT originally announced...
We are giving our millions of broadband customers a choice and an opportunity. If they are prepared to securely share a little of their broadband, they can share the broadband connections of 190,000 others without paying a penny.

Exept most of the current users didnt have a choice. There is no 'opt in' anymore. Only opt out. But they dont tell you that.

Posted by pjsmith over 6 years ago
I only found out I was opted in when there was a problem with my broadband and I noticed a short sentence in my router config showing that BT Fon was activated on my router.
I was never asked about sharing my connection and when I queried it they said that I was getting benefits of using BT Fon so I had to share my bandwidth with other customers.
I dont use BT Fon. Never have. Unlikely I ever will.
Posted by pjsmith over 6 years ago
I didn't know I could so I wouldn't have even tried.
I have mobile internet and unlimited internet on my blackberry. BT Fon is not for me and I am extremely unhappy I was opted into a service to share my home bandwidth without being consulted.
Fine, you can say it was in the small print somewhere but seriously how many people read all the small print when they sign up for home telephone and broadband.
You don't expect to find other people are locally using it too!

Posted by pjsmith over 6 years ago
They claim that I have priority on my bandwidth but I seriously doubt every time I need it (and I work from home with a very high level of bandwidth usage) they will actually cut off other users that are using my hub. (thats up to half your bandwidth given out in 512k lumps to EACH user logging in through your hub by the way.)
OPT IN is only an opt in when you actually opt in. Not when it is set up that way when you get it, without your knowledge or consent.
You can opt out by the way. They gave me instructions but I made them do it there and then over the phone.
Posted by pjsmith over 6 years ago
Had they asked me first.. or if I had control over how many simultaneous users could use it at a given time.. then maybe.. maybe I would have left it on.
Posted by otester over 6 years ago
"seriously how many people read all the small print when they sign up for home telephone and broadband."

Well you get what you deserve then.

Ignorance is not an excuse!
Posted by TaRkADaHl over 6 years ago
@pjsmith its not 512k per user, its 512k total.

And due to throttling, all that these people can do is use port 80, 110 and 25. So they can view web send and receive email. No P2P or Usenet. And the bandwidth to freeloaders will be capped if you are using all of it.

Also @pjsmith, if you don't read the T&C's of what you are agreeing to for two years, its your fault, no-one elses. Even a quick skim over will give you a good idea of what you are signing up to, would only take two minutes.
Posted by bonnington over 6 years ago
When I moved to BT last month Fon was not active on my homehub. I had to opt in and it was activated remotely a week later.
Posted by MarkHampshire over 6 years ago
"Now that operators like O2 are rationing 3G" - the cheek of it. Aren't some of BT Broadband's unlimited packages, er, limited?!
Posted by mhc over 6 years ago
My neighbour has it enabled but it is almost impossible for anyone to use it unless they are sitting in his garden or mine!

No one, as far as he knows, apart from me or my daughter, has used it but he has the advantage of being able to log on to other hot spots - normally commercial at no cost.

Posted by Top-D0g over 6 years ago
I connect to a BT Openzone hotspot at work and it's great. Despite the actual hotspot being a mile away at a hotel, I get an average of 3 or 4 megabits, which has even been enough to watch the world cup on BBC website.
Posted by george9 over 6 years ago
I am a Total Broadband customer and recently have has warnings form BT about mt download usage - getting close to 100GB. I told them this was ridiculous, that no way was it possible for us to use this amount,but couldn't get any help at all. I disconnected by router from BT Openzone and hey presto, my usage drops to 20GB, on 3 computers in the house!
Explain that please BT!

GP in The Royal Borough
Posted by tiggerrmummy over 6 years ago
I've tried Fon a couple of times now but took access off,changed the password after we found we had little or no access at night time & suffering port attacks on a consistent basis resulting in modem lock ups.Since then,no real problems.I'm unimpressed by Fon.On the time we tried to use it,we were unable to access it despite the map saying other wise,which means the hotspots were non existent or that the hubs were turned off.Our useage has now dropped.We had warnings about being near the so called *unlimimted* limit & couldnt work it out,since disconnecting FON this has stopped.
Posted by gobbybobby over 6 years ago
@george9 Yes if you live in a inner city area/ housing estat people may use you Fon and it counts toward you usage. The New BT home hubs have it enebled by default, I conencted to someones FON using by BT login a few weeks ago using my smart phone and you can just use someone elses connection or PAY for time.

You are pretty much getting BT more money if people pay to use you connection. The 100 gig limit is silly anyway, 4 PC in my house, PS3/Xbox360 and wii all hooked up to net and MY pc alone has 55gig Down and 12 gig up.
Posted by essroberts over 6 years ago
At least if they're trying to freeload on your BT Homehub through Fon you know their connection will drop mysteriously, too, every hour or so. And THEY can't reset the damned thing to get some sort of service.
Posted by tiggerrmummy over 6 years ago
@ essroberts... yeah, thats true enough LOL!
If BT want me to sign up again for 18 months I want a new modem or no deal.
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