AT&T Gives Free Wi-Fi to Broadband Customers

Dennis Faas's picture

AT&T is extending its free WiFi service to virtually all of its 10 million-plus broadband customers. It's also pitching the iPhone to business customers, and offering a super-speed home broadband service.

WiFi is the most common technology used for wireless Internet access. Customers with devices such as laptops can get access whenever they are near a 'hotspot', usually based in public places like cafes, hotels, and libraries. Though many operators charge for WiFi use, AT&T is now giving free access to subscribers across its 10,000 hotspots. (Source:

Previously, WiFi access was only free to those on the firm's fastest broadband service. From next week on, it'll also be available without charge to the majority of AT&T customers on the standard 1.5 Mbps service. AT&T estimate the average WiFi user currently pays $240 a year in access costs.

The change also means AT&T customers who own an iPhone will be able to access WiFi without extra charge. However, they'll have to be on an AT&T broadband computer service; simply having AT&T's cell phone data service won't be enough.

The firm is also now marketing the iPhone directly to businesses (the iPhone only works on an AT&T calling plan). The 'enterprise plan' ranges from $45 to $65 a month depending on how many text messages you want to send, and includes technology allowing users to access their corporate email and internal networks. But security experts have warned that such devices are not adequately secure to use for important confidential business information.

AT&T is also launching an even fast home broadband service with the rather glitzy title of 'AT&T Yahoo! High Speed Internet Max'. It allows downloads at speeds of up to 10 Mbps, costs $55 a month, and is only available when bundled with the firm's cable TV service. Apparently, the high speed is made possible by the firm using a single cable to deliver both Internet and TV data. (Source:

It seems major communications firms are trying to persuade people to be loyal to one company, getting services such as cable television, Internet access and cell phone plans from the same provider. This can certainly be more convenient, but it's worth checking whether you can getter a better value deal from individual providers.

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