The majority of the hotspots are broadcast from BT customers' own broadband connections on a free basis. The network also includes hotspots at independent businesses, high street chains, and major city centres.
Charing Cross tube station is the latest addition to BT’s wireless broadband network. Commuters can now connect to the web in the ticket hall area and on the Northern and Bakerloo line platforms at the station, as part of a six month trial by London Underground and BT.
Gavin Patterson, chief executive officer at BT Retail, said: “Demand for wireless access is growing at a record rate. We’ve have added more than 780,000 hotspots in the last six months, and will continue to meet the demand as more and more smartphone, laptop, tablet, iPod and e-reader users choose Wi-Fi to stay connected."
Well-known brands offering BT Wi-Fi access include the Hilton, Thistle, Ramada Jarvis and Macdonald hotel chains, Caffe Nero and Starbucks coffee stores, Welcome Break and RoadChef Costa service stations, and British Airways, Star Alliance, American Airlines and SkyTeam airport lounges.
The BT Wi-Fi network includes around 1,955,000 public Wi-Fi hotspots broadcast by BT Home Hubs, approximately 195,000 Business Hubs broadcasting a BT Openzone public Wi-Fi signal, and around 3,900 BT Openzone hotspots in popular UK and Ireland locations, including hotels, coffee shops, major city centres, airport lounges and terminals.
The growth of the BT Wi-Fi network has been rapid - just over a year ago BT had announced its network had reached around 500,000 hotspots. The expansion has been driven by offering some free Wi-Fi access at other locations to BT customers who allow their own Wi-Fi to be used by others, but it's not clear at this stage how many members of the public actually use these home networks.