Your guide to the basics of BT WiFi


A screenshot of the BT WiFi login page, showing the login form and access pass options.

BT WiFi is a UK-wide network of over 5 million hotspots. In this guide we will answer all your questions about it, and help you get started.

Locations

BT WiFi can be found in all sorts of places (from shopping centres to residential streets). You can find your nearest hotspots by clicking here and entering your postcode or location.
Why do BT have so many hotspots?
This is because they use their customers BT Hubs to broadcast a separate, public network with limited bandwidth. Customers can opt out if they would like to.

Costs

BT WiFi is free if you are a BT Broadband or BT Mobile customer.
If you are not a customer, the pricing is as follows:

  • 1 hour – £4.99
  • 1 day – £7.99
  • 5 days – £19.99
  • 30 days – £39.00

This might seem quite expensive, but if you are somewhere for a few days where this is the only option for internet, it might actually be worth it.
There are no data caps, and most of the time you will get a reasonable speed. I have seen some hotspots with a download speed of 10MBPS and others with a speed of 46MBPS.
If you are planning to buy a longer length of time at a hotspot, I recommend always buying a 1-hour access pass first to check the quality so that you are not disappointed.
If you are a regular user of BT WiFi, you can also get a 3-month subscription for £30/month or a 12 month subscription for £15/month. These subscriptions will allow you to use the automatic connection app for iOS and Android, and they are also better value.

Network names

You might be confused about which network to select. If so, you are not alone.
BT WiFi broadcasts as several different network names in different places.
The most common nowerdays is BTWi-fi, and I hope at some point that all hotspots have the same name (like The Cloud ones do).
Here is a list of network names I have seen along with where I have seen them.

  • BTWi-fi (broadcast from most BT hubs)
  • _BTWi-fi (found in some public places)
  • BTWiFi-with-FON (this used to be broadcast by BT hubs but they have been upgraded. If you still see this, it is likely an old Hub.)
  • BTWifi-X (automatic secure connection for Apple devices with a BT WiFi profile installed. You can install a profile via the BT WiFi app)
  • BTOpenzone (This one is also being phased out. It used to be found in public places so if you see it, it is likely broadcasting from a router that has not yet been upgraded.)
  • BTOpenzone-B (a network which used to be broadcast by old BT Kusiness hubs. You may still see this sometimes)
  • BTOpenzone-H (I have not seen this one in a long time but it used to be broadcast by old Home hubs)
  • BT_Guest_Wi-Fi (This is a network that anyone can connect to. Some businesses use it as their Guest WiFi)
  • BTWiFi (Another network broadcast by some old home hubs).

When you connect to any of the above networks (apart from the free ones), the process is quite similar.
If you have the BT Wi-fi app installed, you will be automatically connected.
If you don’t, you will be taken to the login page where you can either log in or buy access passes.
Network names starting BTHub, BTbhub or BT- are people’s private BT networks and require passwords which are often made up of letters and numbers.

Logging in

Once you select one of the above networks, the BT WiFi login page will pop-up (unless you are using the app).
On this page, you get given a few options.
There is a heading marked “Already a customer?” with a Log in now button underneath.
If you are an existing user, you should click this button.
Once you click it, a new section of the login page will open up with three input fields.
The first one is to select which type of account you are logging in with. The options are BT Wi-Fi (access pass or subscription), BT Broadband or BT Business Broadband.
Open this Account dropdown menu and choose the option which matches your account type.
After this, enter your login details into the two boxes and click the Login button.
If the login details are correct, you should now be connected!
Please note: One account can only connect to one BT WiFi hotspot at a time, but multiple devices can connect to that one hotspot with your login.

If you scroll down you will see a heading named “Not a already a customer? Buy instant access now”. Under this heading, each access pass is listed in order from shortest duration to longest. To start the process of buying one of them, click the “Buy” button next to it.
You will be asked to register for an account and then pay for the pass you chose. After that, you are online.

What about the partnership with FON?

Sadly, we don’t know what the current situation is about this.
Recently, The word FON has disappeared from all hotspot names and the FON option in the account dropdown on the loqin page was removed, so we assume that BT have left FON. Also, the site btfonpurchases.com is dow offline and instead you are taken to my.btwifi.co.uk.
But they are still listed as partners on the FON website, so we can’t be sure.
It would be a shame if this was the situation, because BT customers would no longer have access to the worldwide FON network.

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