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Free WiFi hotspots

Mind the Gap

 

TOOLKIT – Known free WiFi hotspots across the UK

They’re areas with wireless broadband put in by providers, and allow you to use the internet in various public spaces. Places like cafes, pubs, and shopping centres in particular like to offer them, as internet access is something that tends to attract customers. You’ll also find hotspots in shops, train stations, restaurants, airports, department stores… all kinds of busy places where there are a lot of people.

There are also free WiFi hotspots being set up, many in city centres. Where these coincide with residential areas, local schools can encourage their families to make good use of this opportunity to get on to the internet for free through their mobile phones, home computers and computers provided to pupils by their school.

So how do I connect to a WiFi hotspot?

To find a hotspot to connect to, the first thing you’ll need to do is to enable WiFi on your device. It’ll give you a list of available WiFi networks – look for the ‘open’ ones that let you connect without a password. They’ll usually be from BT, O2, The Cloud, Virgin Media, or the name of the place you’re in (‘McDonald’s WiFi,’ for instance). Select one, and it’ll usually take you to a landing page on your browser, where you can either sign in or just click to connect. and you are online for free!

There are a number of websites that will help you find free WiFi hotspots all over the country as follows:

BT WiFi

BT WiFi

If you're a BT broadband or BT Mobile customer, you're lucky enough to have free access to BT's various WiFi hotspots around the country. Everyone else can use them too, though it'll come at a cost, with allowances ranging from one hour to a whole year's unlimited usage. And once you've subscribed from one hotspot, you can carry on connecting from other ones too.

BT Wi-Fi can be found in shopping centres, Hilton hotels, Starbucks, John Lewis, motorway service stations, and old payphones that BT have converted. With 5 million of them scattered around, most of the country is covered.

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O2 Wi-Fi

O2 Wi-Fi

WiFi hotspots from O2 are, wonderfully, free for everyone - albeit with a 10GB monthly download limit. You'll find them in places like McDonald's, Costa Coffee, Café Rouge, Debenhams, All Bar One, and various pubs.

O2 mobile customers can also use WiFi from Virgin Media in London tube stations.

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Sky Wi-Fi

Sky Wi-Fi

Public Wi-Fi from Sky (also known as The Cloud), gives Sky broadband customers free unlimited access. For non-customers, access varies from venue to venue. Some will just let you connect for free, some give you a time limit, and some will charge you. Either way, you'll have unlimited downloads once you're online.

Sky WiFi and The Cloud are found in places including train stations, and the London Overground.

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Local hotspots

Some of the UK's biggest high street names provide free WiFi access to their customers, provided you buy something. Here are just some of the companies offering wi-fi to their customers and links to maps for your nearest participating branches: Costa, Wetherspoons, Cafe Nero, McDonald's, Virgin Trains, Starbucks, Pret a Manger


iPass Hotspot Finder

iPass Hotspot Finder

iPass Hotspot Finder can be accessed online or via their app and allows you to find hotspots all around the world. You can search via venue name, town or postcode or allow it to track your location and find the nearest hotspot to you.

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Myhotspots

Myhotspots

Myhotspots is an impartial website which gives a fairly exhaustive account of WiFi hotspots across the UK.

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