BT OpenZones and BT Broadband team up
BT Broadband is now offering the BT Broadband Traveller package which combines the BT Broadband no-frills ADSL service with a wireless home networking solution and access to the BT OpenZone public Wi-Fi service.
The wireless home networking packages start at £129.99, with exact pricing depending on what wireless hardware you buy from BT. The ADSL service included costs £27 per month and three free months of access to BT OpenZones is bundled in. Once the three months are up, you simply revert to using the OpenZones service on a pay per minute basis. To sign up or to find out further details call 0800 328 6724.
BT Openzone hotspots are basically areas around a wireless access point that allow people to use Wi-Fi enabled computing devices like PDAs and laptops to access the Internet. Various tariffs or simple pay as you go vouchers are available. Commonly they are located in motorway service stations, airports, rail stations, conference centres, hotels and cafes.
BT Broadband is not totally unique in this combination, Bulldog earlier this week announced a partnership with MyZones to provide a roaming Wi-Fi service. MyZones takes a different approach to BT in that it has several levels - a home wireless network, sharing with neighbours or public roaming. In short BT OpenZones is designed more for the type of people who travel a lot and require access when sat around waiting for planes, trains and automobiles. The Bulldog Myzones scheme is much more community based and will depend on another MyZones customer running a public zone near to where you are.
BT perhaps has the upper hand for the hard core traveller since BT signed a Wi-Fi roaming deal with Airpath Wireless Inc back in July that should now be starting to provide roaming access in the US. This is in addition to roaming agreements in place for parts of Europe.
To get some idea of where Wi-Fi hotspots can be found ZDNet has a map of the UKs commercial Wi-Fi hotspots here.
Update: MyZones and Bulldog have pointed out that they do have a roaming agreement in place, called Global Zones, though it was not very obvious looking around their websites. For details of where global MyZone hotspots exist use the directory search here, not all of these hot spots will be free, many will be 'pay as you go' but with 1000 around the UK and 10,000 worldwide there are a few to choose from.