Telecommunications behemoth BT has announced that it will allow its business customers to offer free Wi-Fi to their visitors simply by updating their BT Business Total Broadband Hub, something that should take only a few minutes.
Businesses will be allowed to charge for the wireless broadband access (like in a shared space) or offer vouchers to their visitors as a value added. 20,000 existing customers have already been informed about the new firmware and BT reckons that a further 200,000 BT customers may update their BT Hub by the end of this quarter.
Users will be able to switch off the Hotspot capability of their hub by accessing the Hub manager through a web browser (ed: does that means that the hotspot capability is on by default?). BT also said that customers will be able to access the service from more than 120,000 UK and Ireland commercial locations.
BT added that owners of the hotspot would access the internet on a separate and secure internet channel (their traffic is always prioritised as well, which is a great thing_ although there could be a risk of slow broadband speeds if too many people use the same hub at the same time.
Bill Murphy, BT Business managing director commented on the service, saying that: "Offering Wi-Fi adds value and is good customer service. It can also allow businesses to make incremental revenue. The service is helping our customers stay online and keep productive during these times."
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BT has a similar scheme, BT Fon, which is the world's largest Wi-Fi community, where home broadband connections can be shared with strangers, creating hot spots. Back in September 2008, more than 10 million minutes were utilised in one week by BT Openzone users. It would be great if other Internet Service Providers, Virgin or Sky, could come forth with similar, innovative ideas.