Unitymedia plans to provide up to 1.5 million access points through customer routers by the end of the year. The “WifiSpots”, which can be used free of charge, will be part of the Internet rates for both new and existing customers starting in the summer and will be able to use the access points indefinitely at up to 150 MBit / s.
Last year, Unitymedia had already set up more than 1,000 public Wifi spots along its infrastructure in public places in 100 cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg. In the summer, the cable network operator wants to start the second expansion stage of its WLAN project and make it available by the end of the year via the WLAN routers of its customers up to 1.5 million access points. From the middle of the year, the free “WifiSpots” are also an integral part of the provider’s Internet rates.
Both new and existing Unitymedia customers will then be able to simultaneously use the public access points with transfer rates of up to 150 Mbps without limiting the data volume with up to five devices. The data rate of the home spots is and remains limited to 10 MBit / s. So far, a high-speed volume of 100 MByte per day applies, after which the speed is throttled to 64 kbps. As of summer, these restrictions only apply to users who are not customers of Unitymedia. You can use the cable provider’s public Wi-Fi network in cafes or restaurants that make use of the complementary PowerSpot business suite offer.
In this context, Unitiymedia provides the necessary WLAN infrastructure and also takes over the so-called Störerhaftung as a provider, which would legally secure catering businesses or companies. This allows every PowerSpot customer to offer their guests wireless Internet access while setting up a home page with their own content for “their” access point.
Unitymedia’s public WLAN network can be identified by the SSID “Unitymedia Public WifiSpot”. Once a smartphone or notebook has been registered on the network, it automatically connects with Unitymedia customers with the Wifi spots within its reach. Other users have to re-register their device at each WifiSpot. The traffic is encrypted according to the WPA2 standard.
The private Wi-Fi network remains completely disconnected from the public. The router emits two separate WLAN signals, and users who log in via the public ID do not have access to another user’s private network. The data rate booked with the Internet tariff should not be affected by this because the provider provides additional bandwidth for the WifiSpot. Even with the WifiSpots the liability risk lies in the case of an unlawful use at Unitymedia, such as when illegal file sharing is operated.
With the expansion of its public hotspots, Unitymedia is pursuing the rival Kabel Deutschland, which has since been taken over by Vodafone, and since 2013 has also installed a Wi-Fi hotspot network in Bavaria and then in other federal states. His so-called home spots can be used indefinitely and free of charge by customers who participate in the service themselves. At Vodafone access pointsOn public roads and squares, as well as in cafes, restaurants, hotels or shops, the duration is sometimes limited to 30 minutes per day. If you also want to surf there without restrictions, you can book the WLAN hotspot flat introduced in May 2014. The company requires $ 4.99 per month from contract customers with a Wi-Fi cable modem or home box option. Other customers pay € 9.99 per month. As a single product, the flat rate is available for 19.99 euros.
In addition to Unitymedia and Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom and NetCologne also offer WLAN hotspot solutions for business customers. At Telekom, the offer is called ” Hotspot Plug’n’Play “, at NetCologne it’s called ” Business Spot “. Here, too, the data traffic of the users remains separate from that of the connection owner, which companies are legally on the safe side – regardless of how the discussion about the WLAN-Störerhaftung emanates.