BT Wi-Fi which was also previously known as BT Fon or BT Openzone is an example of a closed community network.
The network consists of BT Broadband customers and other FON members who allow other members access to a portion of their internet connection.
Because there are millions of BT broadband customers and FON members there are potentially millions of access points that aren’t limited to public locations like railway stations and airports.
Fon (Fon Wireless Ltd.) is a company that operates a system of dual access wireless networks. Wiki
BT partnered with Fon in 2007.
From 2009 new customers to any BT broadband package were automatically opted in to this service which meant that their BT Home Hub/Router was serving as a access point not only for the customers home network, but also for other BT Wi-Fi and FON members that are in range.
The benefit of allowing outside users access to your broadband connection (opting in) is that in return you can access the Internet using other members broadband connections, which is really good for those who travel a lot, and need Internet access.
Note: Other members means FON members and not just BT. This makes Wi-Fi Internet access possible in many different countries not just the UK.
Here are part of the BT -WiFi terms and conditions
If you have opted in to the BT-WiFi network then your broadband router will broadcast multiple SSIDs, and appears as three Access points. See Screenshot below:
The screen shot above shows the BTWiFi and BTWiFi-with-Fon networks, notice that they are unsecured. You may also see BT Openzone.
The reason for the different SSIDs is that BT are re-branding to BTWiFI and eventually BTWiFi-with-Fon and BT Openzone should disappear.
It doesn’t make any difference which one you connect to as they are all the same network.
You might also notice the Mac addresses are almost identical.
Connecting to a BT WiFi or BT WiFi with FON Hotspot
BT broadband customers who have opted-in to the BT WiFi program (or not opted out) are allowed unlimited access to the network.
Non BT broadband customers can purchase access packages.
When you are in range of a BTWiFi or BTWiFi-with-Fon hotspot then you select it from your WI-Fi network list, and click connect no username/password is required at this point.
To access the Internet open a web browser and you should be connected to the BT login page, if not go to www.btwifi.co.uk.
Login using your BT broadband primary email address and password.
Important ! Leave this browser window open while you use the Internet.
If you close it you close the connection. You can reconnect by entering https://www.btopenzone.com:8443/home into your address bar and the window will open. – You may want to bookmark the link.
Here is a more comprehensive guide covering laptops and mobile devices.
Here is a screen shot of available networks that I saw and was able to connect to when I was parked in a rural street.
The Wi-fi Hotspot locator on the BT website shows just how dense the coverage is even in rural areas.(blue areas on map)
BT Wi-FI Apps
If you use a tablet/smart phone then you should download the App from the Appstore as it makes it much easier to connect to the network
This guide from BT shows you how to set it up and use it.
Common Questions and Answers
Q- Can I check my opt-in status and can I opt-out?
A- Yes go to this page
Q- Can BT/FON users access my Internal home/office network when they connect to my BTWIFI/FON hotspot?
A- No. The FON software in the wireless router create two separate networks.
Q-Can I use BTWIFI abroad?
A- Yes you can use it where ever you see the FON wi-fi signal. You login using your BT email address and password as normal.
BT have a good Q&A Page here
If you are a BT broadband customer then you will be happy to know that you have free access to BT public hotspots around the UK and FON hotspots around the world.
BT aren’t alone in providing Wi-Fi access to their broadband customers, SKY does it with service called the Cloud which has Hotspots in many public venues.
If you check with your broadband provider you will probably find that they also offer some form of mobile Wi-Fi.
See public Wi-fi for more details other other public Wi-fi providers.
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