With all the hype around the rollout of 4G mobile broadband, it’s easy to forget that 2012 was a big year for public Wifi access. Figures released by The Cloud, the Wifi operator owned by BSkyB, bear out the sense that public hotspots have rapidly become an important way for many of us to get online.
The firm said on Friday that use of its hotspots on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day was three times higher this year in terms of minutes spent online than during the same three days in 2011.
Christmas Eve was particularly busy – four times busier than last year – as shoppers and party goers used hotspots on high streets, and in restaurants and bars. The Cloud’s network covers JD Wetherspoons pubs, Pizza Express and the Westfield shopping centres.
Although these figures cover only one provider in a crowded market, 2012 was clearly a vintage year for public Wifi.