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BTOpenzone Expands Wi-Fi Packages
By: MarkJ - 05 January, 2004 (12:38 PM)

BTOpenzone, the broadband wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) hotspot operator, has not only gained the support of Intel ahead of 'Wireless Broadband Week', but also introduced two new packages including a pay as you go (payg) option:


Intel today confirmed it will support the UK’s first-ever national week of free wireless broadband (Wi-Fi) use with various marketing and educational activities. As BT confirmed earlier in December, Wireless Broadband Week will take place between January 26 and February 1, 2004. During this week anyone with a Wi-Fi enabled laptop or PDA will be able to register online with BT Openzone and enjoy wireless broadband without time limits for a week free of charge.1

Following BT’s call to the Wi-Fi industry to join forces and drive take up of the technology in the UK, Intel, the world’s leading chip manufacturer, which launched its Wi-Fi enabled Intel® Centrino™ mobile technology earlier this year, will support the week long initiative with marketing and educational activity. Analysys Research estimated that the number of people actively using Wi-Fi in the UK by 2005 will top 850,000. BT already has a network of 1,700 BT Openzone sites and has a target of 4,000 sites by the summer.

BT and Intel are determined to make public Wi-Fi a reality not just for its growing numbers of business customers, but also for the mass consumer market.

Ahead of Wireless Broadband Week, BT Openzone also demonstrated its commitment to the UK Wi-Fi industry by announcing two new deals; a pay-as-you-go user option and a lower price for Openzone-in-a-box. The new pay-as-you-go option for BT Openzone is a significant step forward in driving usage of Wi-Fi in the consumer markets. Anyone using Openzone on this basis will pay 20 pence per minute. They don’t need to sign a contract or take out a subscription, just register and pay for the minutes they use.

Openzone-in-a-box , a product designed to allow small to medium sized businesses to install a BT Openzone site on their premises, will now retail at £249.99 excluding VAT. Openzone-in-a-box was previously £399.00 excluding VAT.

Welcoming this news Steve Andrews, managing director, Products and Enterprises at BT, said: “Wi-Fi is no longer just for the few. Public wireless broadband is very accessible in the UK – the spread of locations is increasing rapidly and we are now one of the leading countries worldwide. The industry now needs to work together to drive use and we are delighted that Intel has joined forces with us for Wireless Broadband Week. This is the first co-ordinated push of Wi-Fi in the UK and together BT and Intel call upon more companies to join this initiative and help the UK wake up to what Wi-Fi can do.

Andrew Allison, director of Mobile Computing, Intel UK and Ireland, said: “Wi-Fi technology is changing the way we work and the way we use the internet. More people now need to experience first hand just what Wi-Fi can do, how easy it is to use and how staying in touch using a thin, light and wireless laptop can change your lifestyle for the better. Wireless Broadband Week is about giving even more people the chance to experience the benefits of Wi-Fi, taking one further step to Unwire Britain, and we are delighted to work alongside BT on this initiative.

On confirming BT’s new Wi-Fi pricing deals, Steve Andrews of BT added: “As we announced earlier this month in the run up to Wireless Broadband Week, BT will be announcing a series of exciting agreements and deals which will help make Wi-Fi more accessible to business and recreational users throughout the UK. The launch of the pay-as-you-go service is a significant development that will really drive up use in the mass consumer market. For 20p a minute they will be able to use the service as much or as little as they like and only pay for the exact number of minutes they need. And the new price for Openzone-in-a-box will encourage more independent local businesses to install a BT Openzone hotspot on their premises and benefit from a new revenue stream.

Do you think the new PAYG option is enough to entice people onto Wi-Fi or is the technology still missing something?

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