[SWLUG] Hotspot availability

Daniel Morris danielm at iee.org
Mon Aug 16 12:27:14 UTC 2010

On Mon, Aug 16, 2010 at 11:02:08AM +0100, Neil Jones wrote:
>   Those of you who use them, what is the availability of wireless 
> hotspots like?
> How available are they?
> How use able are they?

McDonalds have been rolling out free Wifi at their outlets across the
UK for many years, even the ones that charge for condiments sachets
(M4-J47) or won't accept Scottish money. Some may not like MuckyD's, but
I happen to enjoy their crispy chicken salad. With children, I've also
seen how McD have changed over the last ten years, in response to
super-size scandals etc. I can't remember the last one I visited that
didn't have wifi.

The other visible benefit, is the golden arches tend to be illuminated
and very well advertised, which makes finding a hotspot much easier. 

The Cloud provide the service, and each is also a BT OpenZone hotspot
(maps & downloadable database available online). My old ISP (Eclipse
had a paid for roaming arrangement with BT, many years ago, before
the advent of "free" broadband. At some locations it is possible to sit
in the car park and leech, but why?

Overseas hotspots vary hugely. Parts of the US seem to have a very
permissive view and hotspots are much more available at many independent
coffee shops and chains. Hotel policies vary too, most US ones seeing it
as an expected feature. The last hotel I stayed at in Campbell-CA didn't
even have any signon challenge for WiFi, figuring they were sick of the
hassle! EU data retention rules mean that one typically has to fill in
a registration form the first time a site is used.

Hilton hotels bizarrely see WiFi as a value-add and charge through the
nose for it - but I don't get to stay in them often, and I tend not to
book a hotel that doesn't offer free broadband/wifi.

Moto motorway service stations also offer free wifi, which are often
adjacent to TraveLodges, which slap on a charge. Perhaps Travelodge wifi
will disappear, just as their overly priced in-room phones have been
eliminated by mobile phones...


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