Virgin Media are set to extend their public Wifi network in the UK by using home routers as free accessible hotspots.
The company have revealed that customers with the new SuperHub v3 devices will be automatically be opted into the scheme, but have the choice to opt out if they wish.
This is nothing new in the industry, as BT have already rolled out their ‘BT Wi-FI with FON’ scheme. It works in a similar way, with user’s hubs providing WiFi to other customers. With a free 1Gbps replacement for ‘The Cloud’ expected later this year, accessing public WiFi will have never been easier.
In a recent FAQ for the new service, Virgin Media insisted that no user’s bandwidth would be affected by the change.
It reads: “Virgin Media WiFi uses a separate connection on your Hub to access the Internet than the one used by your home broadband network.”
It continues: “The data from your home network is completely separate from Virgin Media WiFi traffic, meaning the broadband connection you pay for is exclusively yours, and just as secure.”
This suggests that the router will automatically separate the connections used by customers and by the public – so any privacy or bandwidth problems are unlikely.
Despite this, the SuperHub v3 hasn’t been without its problems. Late last year issues were discovered with the Puma 6 chipset, which powers the device. Many customers experienced temporary delays that caused even fast connections to appear slow.
Virgin have made it clear that users can opt out of the public WiFi service if they wish. They say customers should go to the ‘My Virgin Media’ page on their website and make the change on the ‘My Profile’ section.
Existing customers who want to use the new service should download the Virgin Media Wi-Fi app, which works on both iOS and Android.
In addition, Virgin Media’s next router model might not be too far away. A statement from the company says: “There are more Hub 3.0s to come, and we’re continuing with a pilot of the Super Hub 2ac.”