Wi-Fi hotspot giving you grief? You’re not alone. We’ve studied central London Wi-Fi providers and found a shocking statistic: 40% of paid-for hotspots just don’t work. Read on, and see why we’re riled over wonky Wi-Fi NotSpots.

We focused on the two biggest providers of Wi-Fi hotspots, The Cloud and BT Openzone. If we could access the web at any speed we deemed them working, although a number had speeds below 1mbps, meaning we couldn’t do much at all once we were online. Still, we wanted to be as fair as possible.

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We classed a hotspot as unresponsive when we couldn’t log in, couldn’t load the log in page, or couldn’t find it in the location it was listed as being running by the provider.

Being fair wasn’t enough though: in our tests, BT Openzone had a failure rate of 33%, meaning a third of all the BT Openzone hotspots we tested were unresponsive. Even worse, 40% of The Cloud hotspots we tried to log on to did not work at all.

In our testing, while The Cloud had a higher failure rate, when we found a hotspot up and running, it was generally quite speedy. We reached speeds of 6mbps and over at several Cloud locations, whereas over half the BT Openzone hotspots we tried delivered speeds under 2Mbps.

It’s also worth noting that The Cloud is far cheaper than BT Openzone, at £6.95 a month for use on one device. BT Openzone costs £6.99 for 90 minutes, and £9.99 for 24 hours, although you can use multiple devices.

The hotspots we tested were randomly chosen in central London, from train stations to tourist hotspots, in locations from pubs to parks inside zones one and two we tested the lot, and the figures speak for themselves: It’s pitiful that we’re shelling out for such poor services. In our view, if a hotspot is advertised it should be functioning, and at a reasonable speed.

We’re throwing down the gauntlet to Wi-Fi providers: Give us great service, every time we connect to your hotspot, and pay for the privilege, or show us which ones are faulty before we hand over our cash.

In the meantime, you can take matters into your own hands. Use our Wi-Fi NotSpot stickers to label offending establishments. Fight back against poor performance, and stand up for your wireless rights!

  • http://www.advancedwebads.com/ Mel Gibson

    That is strikingly not surprising to me. Service providers had done their signal quality without the users using the network thus giving them wide coverage. When people start to use the network, their coverage shrinks to give power to those who are already in the network. Besides, you cannot expect a steady coverage from a wireless network.

  • Junktoy005

    BT open zone is the most horrible unreliable service ever. lost count keep log in to 1kb service! BT you better get things right. just horrible service.

  • Fjfdfh

    With 3G being as fast as is, WiFi hotspot tariffs just aren't worth it.

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