British fixed line incumbent BT has announced that it will provide unlimited access to its BT FON and BT Openzone Wi-Fi hotspots for those signed up to its fixed line broadband service. The move, the telco claims, is in response to limitations imposed on customers by mobile network operators such as O2 UK, which recently revealed that it would no longer offer new or upgrading customers the option for unlimited 3G data usage. Previously BT had placed limits on the amount of minutes that its BT Total Broadband customers could access the internet for at its Wi-Fi hotspots. Commenting on the change in policy, John Petter, consumer managing director for BT Retail, noted: ‘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.’
According to the executive the BT FON and BT Openzone networks expanded by around 800,000 hotspots during 2009, and the telco expects to have more than 2.5 million hotspots in operation by the end of 2011. While BT Openzone hotspots are deployed directly by BT in locations such as airports, train stations, hotels and cafes, BT FON sees BT customers sharing access to their own Wi-Fi routers with other members of the service.