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Wireless hotspot use in UK doubled in last year
New figures released by the UK Office for National Statistics (ONS) show the use of wireless hotspots is rocketing as the number of people accessing the Internet from mobile devices reaches nearly 50%. And, as BT moves to extend its growing network of wireless hotspots around the country, hundreds of pub-goers will soon get a connection with their pint.
According to the ONS's most recent annual report, there are 17.6 million mobile Internet users in the UK in 2011, representing 45% of Internet users in the country, compared to back in 2009 when there were just 8.5 million (23% of all users).
The rate of growth is fastest among the youngest age bracket (16-24), with mobile Internet use jumping from 33% in 2009 to 71% in 2011.
Of the users, six million accessed the Internet over their mobile phone for the first time in the previous 12 months.
Use of wireless hotspots in the UK is also witnessing rapid growth, particularly in the last year. The ONS's figures show that 4.9 million people, or 13% of Internet users in the UK, used wireless hotspots at places such as hotels, malls, restaurants and travel hubs, a seven-fold increase since 2007 estimates and double what is was twelve months ago.
BT now has more than three million wireless hotspots in the UK as part of its country-wide Openzone network. The company also recently announced a deal with beer brand Heineken that will see hotspots placed in 300 or so pubs over the course of the next 18 months.
The growing hotspot usage trend will continue globally, according to new research from In-Stat that predicts the number of connects via this method will total nearly 120 billion by 2015.
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