As well as using the Wi-Fi provided on campsites you can also connect to many other networks, pubs are often a good choice if you are in range of one, pop in a buy a pint and ask for the password.
There are also networks of hotspots around the country that provide free of paid access, BT Wi-Fi being the biggest with over 5 million hostpots in the UK and it is free if you have BT Broadband or the BT WiFi option on an EE of Vodafone account. Likewise Sky Broadband customers get free unlimited to The Cloud’s 20,000 hotspots.
Remember – when connecting to these sort of hotspots the network will appear as open or unsecured so you don’t enter a password during the connection part of the Rangemaster setup, you will be asked to login once you try to browse for a web page.
Here is a run down of the available hotspot networks:
BT Wi-Fi – Free for BT, and some EE and Vodafone, customers
BT Wi-Fi (formerly BT Openzone) is the country’s largest single network of public hotspots, with over five million across the UK and Ireland and more abroad. You’ll typically find them in airports, hotels, coffee shops, motorway service stations and city centres.
You’ll also find them in and around the homes of most BT broadband customers – BT routers by default portion off a small amount of bandwidth for sharing with other BT customers nearby. BT has said this is secure and doesn’t open up the private part of the network in your home, and it can be turned off if you don’t feel like sharing.
BT Wi-fi isn’t free for everyone. All BT broadband customers, and EE and Vodafone customers with it included in their plans, get it free – otherwise, you can pay for access by buying a pass.
- Where to find one: BT Wi-Fi directory
- Limitations: Downloads and uploads are unlimited whether you’re getting it free or paying. Fair usage policy of 10,000 mins/month, after which you’re required to re-login every 30 minutes.
- Free: To BT broadband, business and mobile customers and some EE and Vodafone customers, depending on their contract.
- Paid passes: PAYG: 1hr for £4; 1 day for £10; 5 days for £25; 30 days for £39. PAYM: £30/mth on a 3mth contract; £15/mth on a 12mth contract.
O2 Wi-Fi – Free for everyone, not just O2 customers
O2 Wi-Fi is pretty widely available across the country. You’ll typically find one of its hotspots in the branches of chains like McDonald’s, Costa Coffee and House of Fraser.
It’s free to use for everyone, but you’ll need to register using your mobile number; sign up here. Once you’ve connected to one of its networks for the first time it should remember your device in future, so you shouldn’t need to log in.
- Where to find one: O2 Wi-Fi hotspot locator
- Limitations: You get up to 10GB to use a month. You can check your usage in your account.
- Free: To everyone.
- Paid passes: N/A.
The Cloud/Sky WiFi – Most hotspots free for everyone – unlimited access for Sky customers
One of the fastest growing Wi-Fi networks, Sky-owned The Cloud has over 20,000 hotspots all over the UK. You’ll also find them at lots of high-street chains, such as Pret a Manger, Caffe Nero and Wagamama.
Most Cloud hotspots are free to use, and you’ll always be told when you log on if the one you’re using isn’t. Some hotspots give free users a limited amount of surfing time. Sky Broadband customers get unlimited access to all hotspots with Sky WiFi.
- Where to find one: The Cloud Hotspot Finder
- Limitations: Varies by hotspot – some are time-limited. 40GB/month cap on usage.
- Free: Most hotspots free for everyone. All hotspots free to Sky customers.
- Paid passes: N/A.