The Current state of Free Wifi in the UK and Ireland

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Earendil, Jan 21, 2008.

  1. Earendil macrumors 68000

    Earendil

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2003
    Location:
    Washington
    #1
    I'm from Washington State US, and am traveling through London, Wales, and Ireland.
    I'm having a really hard time finding free wifi spots just about everywhere I go. I'm having more luck here in Dublin than I usually do, but I'm just wondering, what gives?

    I have not traveled the US recently, so I don't know what it is like, but in the Northwest of the US, Notably Seattle, Portland, and every small town in between, free wireless is easy to find. I don't respect a cafe in the US if it doesn't offer free wireless, but that's okay, because 90% of them do.

    Portland has an ongoing project to blanket the entire downtown with free wireless, and it is almost done.

    So I'm wondering, What gives with London, Cardiff and Dublin? Even my town of 3000 people has wifi at the only cafe. The town next door of 8000 must have 6 free spots in downtown alone.

    Is this a cultural thing? No one travels with laptops?
    Is the 3G cell network enough for everyone? Is everyone savvy enough to use their phone as a modem?

    I'm really curious, as it seems that internet is cheaper over here, of better quality, and yet I'm getting charged an arm and a lag everywhere I go to use it :(

    Just curious, I'm not bashing anyones country or way of life :)
     
  2. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

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    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #2
    Welcome to the UK and the pay for everything culture we have.

    To access most hotspots over here you get charged. All the big ones BT Openzone, The Cloud, T-Mobile all seem to charge for access to them, and it's not cheap.

    BT Openzone

    The Cloud

    T-Mobile


    Kinda sucks, but I can't moan to much as I get 3000 free minutes each year as part of my BT Broadband package.
     
  3. j26 macrumors 65832

    j26

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    Location:
    Paddyland
    #3
    3G modems that you can plug into your laptop are pretty popular in Ireland. Also if you have broadband with Eircom (biggest phone company) you can get free wireless at any of their hotspots around the country (until the end of April anyway)

    Travellers get screwed as they have to pay high connection fees.
     
  4. nazuk macrumors 6502

    nazuk

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2007
    Location:
    England, UK
    #4
    Some pubs and Bars may have free wi-fi. Don't forget we too have Starbucks. However, free wi-fi is simply virtually non-existent here compared to the States. If you checkout The Cloud (google it) - they provide wi-fi services for a fee using an existing network I believe.

    Also, they provide wi-fi for the iPod Touch for £3.99 per month.
     
  5. nplima macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 26, 2006
    Location:
    UK
  6. Compile 'em all macrumors 601

    Compile 'em all

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    Apr 6, 2005
    #6
    Rule of thumb; Nothing is free in Europe.

    I live there.
     
  7. Markleshark macrumors 603

    Markleshark

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  8. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #8
    Free WiFi here is virtually non-existent. Another reason why the iPhone being only EDGE rather than 3G doesn't fly so well - the argument that you can just hop on a WiFi hotspot doesn't hold up when there aren't any :rolleyes:
     
  9. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

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    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #9
    The only free Wi-Fi I've ever found is outside the Apple Store in the Bullring, Birmingham.
     
  10. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

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    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
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    #10
    The Cloud is free for DS, iPhone and iPod Touch users though. And when I used to frequent Manchester there were many free, public wireless networks. IIRC the town hall has one.

    Don't think London=England. Heck even in Saddleworth a few little cafes have free wifi pumping out of them.
     
  11. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

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    Location:
    London, England
    #11
    Really? I thought the Cloud deal was only for those paying a contract with o2.
     
  12. orangezorki macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    #12
    If you have a web n' walk t-mobile tariff, I've heard that paying for the £5 extra option gives you access to all t-mobile hotspots.
     
  13. Dagless macrumors Core

    Dagless

    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2005
    Location:
    Fighting to stay in the EU
    #13
    http://www.thecloud.net/page/3615/ oops, yea it's £3.99 a month.
    Ah but it turns out it's just Cloud services in MacDonalds that let you use a DS.

    So we're back to the iPhone :D
     
  14. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #14
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn

    Abstract

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    #15
    I don't think the UK (and Europe) is the only place where WiFi isn't free.

    I think the free WiFi that Americans get is an exception, rather than the norm around the world. :eek:
     
  16. jSunbeam macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2007
    #16
    i can only speak for london, because that's where i live

    but practically every bar/cafe (not pubs) round here (shoreditch) offers free wi-fi. maybe it's the area i live in, but i'd be really surprised if other areas of london (particularly central) didn't offer free wifi!

    if you want specific places in london then by all means PM me and i'll send you the names of some nice cafes/bars!
     
  17. PowerFullMac macrumors 601

    PowerFullMac

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2006
    #17
    People here have routers with easy-to-guess passwords most of the time though :D
     
  18. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

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    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #18
    Didn't know that, Wondered how some strange looking people were surfing away while I was queueing to buy Leopard. Should have thought about it really.
     
  19. NATO macrumors 68000

    NATO

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Ireland
    #19
    A lot of McDonalds restaurants are now offering free WiFi via TheCloud. You just select the 'TheCloud' WiFi network, it diverts you to a login page, you click the link to say you're connecting from another network and it gives you a McDonalds login page where you tap in a few details and you're logged in. Unfortunately I couldn't find a locator to determine which restaurants offer this service so it's pretty hit-or-miss.
     
  20. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #20
    similiar here too ... free wi-fi connections ? yeah right ...

    that said why bother with wi fi if you can have your own connection through a 3G card pretty much everywhere
     
  21. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #21
    That's weird, when I was in Kitzbuhel last September, almost all the bars had free wi-fi advertised.
     
  22. takao macrumors 68040

    takao

    Joined:
    Dec 25, 2003
    Location:
    Dornbirn (Austria)
    #22
    well i suspect it has to do with the fact that Kitzbühel is more something for tourists...
     
  23. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

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    #23
    I suppose you are right, I wasn't there to do any work :D

    [​IMG]
     

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