Virgin Media grows a good pair of WiFi balls

I was delighted to see that Virgin Media’s CEO, Neil Berkett, is aiming to ‘take a punt’ on London-wide-WiFi (quoted in The Telegraph).

About flipping time.

Save us from BT-flipping-Openzone.

Anyone who wants to charge PER MINUTE for dog-slow-rubbish-paltry-almost-helpful WiFi service deserves some serious competition.

It is utter shite, BT Openzone. I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a satisfactory service from it. It’s either been stupidly slow 2k/second 1990s speed, or I’ve been put off by the outrageous pricing structure.

I’m not that satisfied with ‘WiFi Zone – The Cloud’ either. It’s pretty usable in McDonalds, but I haven’t had much success in London when I’ve been moving around. I think that’s because I haven’t been standing in the right spots.

I hope Virgin Media can do better. Here’s an overview from The Telegraph piece:

The firm’s chief executive Neil Berkett told investors that it was in “quite advanced negotiations” with London councils over the plans and said he was optimistic the rollout would begin “in the not too distant future”.

“The proposition would be that we would provide free Wifi access for all,” he said.

Laudable.

Talk to me about speed:

Virgin Media’s WiFi network will be freely available to anyone at 0.5Mbps, and to its home broadband subscribers at up to 10Mbps.

Eminently sensible. Take note, Virgin. I had a choice between BT and Virgin in the apartment I recently rented in Richmond. I chose BT. It was quicker. And I really didn’t want a sodding engineer to visit. Too much hassle. But you know what, if you’d been offering city-wide WiFi, I’d have become a customer. Definitely. I’d have borne the engineer visit hassle so that when I’m in London, I get proper WiFi speeds from you.

The approach contrasts with BT’s extensive Openzone network, which although free to BT broadband customers, is charged at as much as £5.99 for 90 minutes’ browsing.

Yes. Huge contrast.

I can’t believe Openzone is still based on per minute! Ridiculous.

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