January 15, 2014
A £10 million fund from the government to help get superfast broadband to the predicted 5% of the country that will not be covered by the existing Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) funded programme has had more details revealed about it today.
The fund was originally announced in December by The Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and today they have released a few more details as to who they want to bid for the funds. They are after companies who can offer alternative technology to help reach those in the final 5% of premises that will still need connecting. The potential technologies that will be looked at may include 4G, fibre direct to premises, improved fibre to the cabinet and extending it further down the network and also satellite.
Maria Miller, Secretary for State and Culture, Media and Sport, said:
“If we want to ensure that that all communities can benefit then we need to think imaginatively about alternative technology, and the pilots enabled by the £10m fund will be instrumental in helping us overcome the challenges of reaching the final 5% of premises.”
Currently the UK has a target of 95% coverage of premises with superfast broadband by the end of 2017, much of this has been done by BT & Virgin Media with their own fibre optic networks, however for the areas that BT & Virgin didn’t deem financially viable to roll out their networks to there has been a £1.1bn fund from the government to help extend the superfast broadband network to cover 95% of the UK. On the whole it is BT who has won the contracts for the government funds along with local councils having to match some funding too.
Chris Townsend has become the new Broadband Chief Executive, he was one of the people beind the London 2012 Olympic Games and will take on being in charge of the Broadband Delivery UK programme which also includes the extra £10 million for the remaining 5%.
Mr Townsend, said:
“Ensuring that broadband can reach businesses and consumers across the country is one of the most important policies in Government. Faster connections will improve the way people live, work and spend their leisure time. I look forward to starting my new role as chief executive of BDUK and building on the good work being done to get superfast broadband to people all over the UK.”
October 3, 2013
The UK is to be one of the first countries in the world to take part in a first major pilot of “white space” technology, which is a new wireless technology.
White Space technology is the process of using the “white spaces” that are left un-used in the frequency band that is used to deliver digital television. These white spaces exist to act as buffering gaps between the transmissions taking place so that there is no interference between them, however the size of the frequencies and when they are available changes which means that there is no constant white space area that can be used around the whole country. However, databases compiling the available white spaces, the time of day they are available and at what power levels are available at specific locations means that electronic devices such as mobile phones and tablet computers could tap in and use the spectrum at specific times when available.
The UK will be the first country in Europe to look to use white space technology, however we won’t be the first in the world as America and other countries have already made a start to utilise and use their white space.
The trials have some big names backing it who also want to get involved, including Microsoft, Google and BT for starters.
In Glasgow, Microsoft will be rolling out a free public WiFi service across the city using white space technology, this is because Glasgow is a city with one of the lowest take ups of broadband in the UK.
Google are hoping to be able to test intelligent databases which would be used to ensure that the white spaces can be used without causing harmful interference to other devices.
BT & Neul (a technology specialist) will be working with the Department for Transport to see if they can enhance traffic information. They will be running their trial along the A14 between Felixstowe and Cambridge by using the white space to transmit traffic congestion data and also varying traffic conditions to vehicles, this will then help give drivers extra information which could hopefully help ease congestion if drivers avoid certain areas.
August 3, 2011
Virgin Media are looking into offering a free public wi-fi service to cover London and be a firm rival to BT’s Openzone network.
According to Neil Berkett, the Chief Executive of Virgin Media, they are in “quite advanced negotiations” with London councils about the service which could potentially be launched in the not too distant future.
This free London WiFi service from Virgin Media will offer everyone a 0.5Mb broadband connection and to Virgin Media customers this will be available up to 10Mb. BT’s Openzone network charges users up to £5.99 for a 90 minutes browsing and is only free to BT broadband customers. It is also only able to bring broadband speeds “up to” 8Mb depending on how close t0 one of the hotspots the user is.
It is likely that the network will cost Virgin Media a few million pounds and it is considered by the company as a “punt”.
Mr Berkett also said:
“there is a gap that is increasingly occurring between consumers’ need for data outside the home and what they can get on 3G”
By offering free public wifi this will help to bridge the gap as more and more people access the internet on the move mainly via smartphone devices.
June 14, 2011
Passengers on National Express coaches between Stansted Airport and London are now able to use free Wi-Fi internet access on their journey.
The Wi-Fi technology that has been installed was from Icomera and has been installed into all the coaches that run on the Stansted Airport to London route. This route has around 4 coaches per hour running and runs 24/7 and is one of National Expresses busiest routes.
Icomera’s award winning Moovbox M200 is what has been installed and it connects to a T-Mobile HSPA cellular broadband connection that it is then able to offer to passengers as a Wi-Fi connection on board at speeds up to a few Mb per second.
The Stansted to London route is not the first route that National Express have installed the Moovbox on to, with other services in Bournemouth, Southampton and Gloucester having it installed already.
Dave Palmer, from Icomera said:
“With this Wi-Fi deployment, National Express has once again demonstrated their commitment to meeting the expectations of today’s business and leisure travellers. With millions of new Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and tablet PCs being purchased every month the demand for reliable internet connectivity on the move is growing exponentially. We are delighted to be supporting innovative customers like National Express in getting customers onboard and online.”
This is great to see from companies such as National Express, embracing technology and how important it is to allow customers even greater access to the internet on more parts of their journey. With more and more smartphones and internet ready devices being sold we will hopefully see more and more companies embrace free wireless internet for customers.
January 24, 2011
Sky Broadband are reportedly looking to buy “The Cloud” so that they can enter the UK public WiFi hotspot market and rival competitor BT.
The Cloud has around 22,ooo WiFi access points across Europe and allows users to connect to a public WiFi hotspot away from the home. Sky Broadband will most likely be looking to offer their customers free access to the WiFi hotspots when they take out a broadband package in much the same way that BT currently does with their customers.
BT has around 2 million UK free hotspots available to BT Broadband customers via it’s BT FON and BT Openzone networks and recent reports also suggest that Virgin Media were looking to roll out their own free WiFi network.
The Cloud has deals in place with companies such as McDonalds, Little Chef and Marriott hotels and claim to connect 3 million laptops and smartphones each month to its network and deliver over 100 million network minutes every month with an average download speed of over 3.5Mb.
An announcement is expected on Thursday about the deal when BSkyB announce it’s latest earnings.
November 22, 2010
“Human Hotspots” are to hit the streets over the next few weeks in various UK locations as part of an advertising campaign by 3 Mobile.
The “Human Hotspots” will be offering free access to mobile Wi-Fi, also known as MiFi. The 3 Mobile MiFi connection will be available to people who are in an area where one of the “Human Hotspots” are located. They should be relatively easy to spot as they will be dressed all in white (although with snow forecast towards the end of the week then maybe they won’t be so easy to spot).
What MiFi does is share out a wireless internet connection through a battery powered wireless portable router which then allows other internet enabled devices to connect to it, such as laptops or smartphones.
Matthew Halfin from Three Mobile said:
“People are now using mobile internet as part of their everyday lifestyle, and we think it’s important that we’re able to support our customers by providing them with reliable and fast connectivity for wherever they want to go online.
“Three’s 3G network was designed for the mobile internet, so we can give people the very best online experience with their mobile gadgets. This will be particularly important over the Christmas period as a third of people head online with their new mobile toys.“
The reason 3 are launching this latest campaign is because they did a survey and found that people are in need of reliable and strong 3G connections which is what they feel the 3 MiFi device is able to offer customers.
The top 10 places that 3 Mobile’s research said people use their mobile gadgets were as follows:
- In the living room – 72%
- In the bedroom – 48%
- At Work – 29%
- On public transport – 24%
- On the toilet – 14%
- Walking – 14%
- In the bathroom – 12%
- In the garden – 11%
- At a bar/club – 9%
- While shopping – 8%
The Human Hotpsots will be in the following locations over the coming weeks:
London (Friday Nov 19), Cardiff (Friday Nov 26), Bristol (Saturday Nov 27), Nottingham (Saturday Dec 4) and Newcastle (Saturday Dec 11).
November 9, 2010
BT’s wireless hotspot network has reached an impressive 2 million WiFi hotspots, making it the largest of it’s kind in the UK.
With the demand for wireless internet access growing at a very fast rate due to the popularity of devices such as smartphones, laptops, iPods and e-readers it has helped spur BT on to extend their wireless network. In the last 6 months alone they have added more than 780,000 hotspots.
BT Total Broadband customers are able to access this wireless network unlimited and for free as part of their broadband package.
The whole wireless network is made up with BT FON customers and BT Openzone. Many well known brands across the UK offer the access at their premises, such as Hilton Hotels, Starbucks and British Airways to name a few.
The breakdown of how the wireless network is made up is that there are around 1.95 million BT FON hotspots which are public hotspots that are sent by BT customers Home Hubs, 195,000 BT Business hubs and 3,900 BT Openzone hotspots at public locations such as hotels and coffee shops.
The Chief Executive of BT Retail, Gavin Patterson, said:
“Demand for wireless access is growing at a record rate, we’ve have added more than 780,000 hotspots in the last six months and will continue to meet the demand as more and more smart-phone, laptop, tablet, iPod and e-reader users choose WiFi to stay connected when they are out and about. What’s more our BT Total Broadband customers have free and unlimited access to the largest WiFi network in the UK included in their broadband package.“
October 29, 2010
London Underground wireless Internet trials are due to start on 1st November at Charing Cross Tube Station.
BT Openzone, who provide wireless Internet hotspots has joined up with London Underground to trial for 6 months wireless Internet service at Charing Cross tube station. Any BT broadband customers with unlimited BT FON Wi-Fi minutes and for BT Openzone customers will be able to access the service at no extra charge, it will allow Internet enabled devices such as smartphones, laptops or netbooks to connect to the Internet as they are in the Charing Cross Tube Station.
The Strategy and Commercial Director for London Underground, Richard Parry, said:
“Around 68,000 passenger journeys are made a day at Charing Cross Tube station. We hope that our customers will find it useful to have access to the internet while they are using the Tube station during this six-month trial. Live service updates will allow passengers to check the status of the Tube and other transport services while they are on the move at the station.“
The Mayor of London’s Transport Adviser, Mulveer Ranger, said:
“An ever growing commuter populous has been clamouring to be able to check their emails and browse the net whilst on the go. This trial at Charing Cross will allow them to do just that whilst on the Tube platform. This is an important step towards seeing how this could be achieved and is part of the Mayor’s ambition to examine ways in which we can use technology to adapt the city’s transport system to meet the needs of those using it.“
It would therefor appear that providing the trails go well and customers using the London Underground find it useful then it could well be rolled out further across the Underground network, this could work well for business as people are able to do more work on the way and way back from work or when travelling across London.
Customers on O2, Tesco Mobile, Vodafone and Orange who have Wi-Fi minutes included in their contract may also be able to use the BT Openzone network while other users will be able to purchase BT Openzone vouchers to be able to access the network.
September 7, 2010
BT Total Broadband customers who have iPhone or Android mobiles will be able to get an app that will connect their phones to free unlimited Wi-Fi connections.
The app, called the BT FON app will notify users of the nearest WiFi hot spot to them, users will then be able to enter their email address and password and select if they want to automatically be logged in to a BT Wi-Fi area.
Being connected to these WiFi areas will save customers money as the access to BT FON and BT Openzone is free for BT Total broadband customers and there are 1.6 million of the Wi-Fi hot sports avialable worldwide.
The app will not only auto sign usesr into available Wi-Fi networks when they become ava\ilable but will also provide a map view so you can see where there is available access points close by.
What’s more, BT are donating 50p for every BT FON app that is downloaded (up to a maximum of £10,000) so providing 20,000 people download the app then BT will be paying up the full amount to BBC Children in Need.
September 14, 2009
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Free WiFi could be coming to a place near you if your community is selected as one of the places to receive a free to use WiFi hotspot by Freerunner.
The targeted areas are deprived or remote areas of the country and community members have until 25th September 2009 to apply for one of the 50 free WiFi connections that are going to be made available.
Freerunner have also teamed up with the online charity fundraising site JustGiving.com to help provide 500 charity locations across the UK with free WiFi.
Owen Geddes the CEO of Freerunner said:
“People need Internet access to be able to function equally in today’s society, and that most basic right is not being given to them.
Freerunner can help rise to the challenge set out in the Digital Britain Report – we believe that it is now time for entrepreneurial commercial businesses to take the initiative and solve the problem. Our team is on stand-by to install an initial 50 hotspots across the UK no matter where they are, and are working to find commercial sponsors for more future locations. We’re also determined to support charities, who play an invaluable role in our communities, by giving people a new reason to visit and giving them a chance to breach the ‘digital divide’ by working closely with companies such as JustGiving.com.”
Any communities who want to apply can do so via the form on the website at www.freerunr.com/community
The successful applicants will know if they have been successful by 1st October 2009.