Procurement · 11 May 2018

Infographic: Do you work in one of the UK’s biggest free Wi-Fi hotspots?

London leads the way with more than 9,000 WiFi locations including; cafes, shopping centres, museums and train stations.

Over recent years there has been an abundance of free Wi-Fi hotspots cropping up across the UK, and with new data, the cities which are the easiest to connect to for free have been revealed.

WiFi enables around the clock connectivity for people, and how this is benefitting businesses and in particular freelancers. To no surprise, the nation’s busiest and heavily commuted to city London takes first place with 9,269 hotspots.

This is almost 15x more free connection services available than the Birmingham ranking second best.

However, those working in Birmingham can download content or explore the internet for as long as they need as research revealed that the city has mounted shoe-box sized access points around the city centre to provide unlimited and fast connectivity for visitors.

The average number of downloads made in London over public Wi-Fi was around 808,000- that’s roughly 754,000 more than in Birmingham.

Commenting on this, Gary Beeston, sales and marketing director at Insurance2go said: “From coffee shops to trains and tourist spots, free Wi-Fi is usually within arm’s reach no matter where you are in the country.

“There are still many providers that request customers to log in, but it’s important for Brits to remember not to be so trusting when using public Wi-Fi, whether you’re using a work or personal device, and make sure you’re fully protecting yourself and your business whenever you are connected.”

Mobile phone insurance provider, Insurance2go, used its team of data analysts to analyse reports from Ofcom, and collate the findings revealing the greatest number of free Wi-Fi hotspots.

The cities in the UK with the most free Wi-Fi hotspots are:

1. London – 9,269
2. Birmingham – 620
3. Leeds – 597
4. Manchester – 534
5. Glasgow – 475
6. Edinburgh – 471
7. Liverpool – 362
8. Sheffield – 359
9. Bristol – 327
10. Cardiff – 291

Of course, there are also British cities which are not as developed and modernised as others regarding Wi-Fi. Stirling in central Scotland only has 71 Wi-Fi hotspots making it the city with the least amount, following by Dundee at 115 and Aberdeen at 126.

However, in comparison to population figures and size of the cities, the number of hotpots correlated suitably and were in line with other UK locations.

Commenting on this, Matt Powell, Editor from Broadband Genie, highlights the issues of data safety on public servers. Powell said: “When using public Wi-Fi there is a risk that data could be intercepted. It is fairly simple for either the network owner or other users to monitor traffic, and any data sent unencrypted would be visible, which could include financial information or passwords.

Powell advises to use websites which are encrypted, to look for HTTPS in the URL or a green padlock icon in the browser. He urges the public to be mindful that when accessing websites without HTTPS can monitor all user activity and to never enter a password or any other sensitive data into an unencrypted site when using public Wi-Fi.

“It’s also crucial to always make sure you’re connected to a genuine Wi-Fi network, as hackers may try to catch unsuspecting surfers with fake hotspots set up to capture data. Confirm that the network name and password are exactly the same as provided by the network operator,” added Powell.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.

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