I guess once wifi hotspots became a strategy for big telcos, it was only a matter of time before they reached us here. And so this week it has come to pass: two new unprotected wifi access points labelled BTFON and BTOpenzone-H. They provide a decent signal level too, second only to my own router from where I type.
So I connected to one, then the other, and took a look. They appear to be offering the same service: evidently like buses they’re social and cluster together! Indeed I suspect they may be no more than different aliases for the same physical router. Unsurprisingly they’re a BT service. Equally unsurprisingly there’s a catch: all they actually connect to is a sandbox. A website promoting a BT service, and inviting me to pay for access to …. what exactly?
In principle this could be an interesting offering. Indeed, if sufficiently reliable, such a service together with VOIP phone SIP exchange might even replace the landline and ADSL connection altogether. But its value depends entirely on whether it provides full internet access. If it’s one of those mickey-mouse services that blocks everything but web (and maybe mail) ports even after I’ve gone to the trouble of paying and logging in via the sandbox I can access, then no thank you!
Now, guess what information I can’t find anywhere on the sandbox site, after following every remotely promising link like “technical information” and “FAQs” (erm, yeah, right, everyone is frequently asking questions whose answer is immediately obvious to anyone who can formulate the question in the first place). Yep, that’s right, they’re not going to tell me whether they supply any bloomin’ service beyond a bit of point-and-drool.