Archive for October, 2013

Public WiFi – Is convenience always a good thing?

Posted in Spectrum Internet on October 31st, 2013 by Tewdric_Marketing – 80 Comments

These days, with public WiFi available in most towns and cities, it is easy to take it for granted that when we need to, we can join a public network, search the web and find information on the nearest good restaurant or simply check on the football scores.

More and more locations are now offering this service to not only help increase footfall and attract visitors, but also as a way of helping to close the digital divide – giving people who can’t access broadband at home the opportunity to use WiFi in their town centre or public buildings. As a supplier of public WiFi in many areas across Wales, including Cardiff, Monmouth and Chepstow, and notably the National Assembly of Wales buildings in Cardiff, we have seen how much this service can benefit an area.

However, the ease and convenience of being able to connect to public WiFi is also posing some problems; most significantly in relation to the safety of content that can be accessed.

This issue has attracted much attention in the press over the last few months and has not escaped the sights of parliament with David Cameron issuing a Government-backed code of conduct to promote “good, clean WiFi”.  The majority of negative publicity surrounding public WiFi focuses on the lack of protection for users. Many parents are using parental controls at home in order to filter what websites they deem safe for their children, yet they have no control over public WiFi, leaving children and young adults open to viewing inappropriate content.

Since starting to provide public WiFi in 2011, Spectrum Internet has been very aware of these risks and the potential dangers involved with an open network. Consequently, we have always taken a ‘family-safe’ approach, providing a content filtered service and making every effort to prevent not just illegal, but also inappropriate content being viewed. The point of mentioning this is not for self-promotion, but rather to raise the question that if a local, Welsh provider like Spectrum Internet can supply a responsible service, why are some of the larger providers not doing the same?

More providers are now gradually implementing content filtering at some level since the issue hit the press, but there are still many public WiFi networks out there, including ones provided by local councils, that are continuing to run unprotected. Which leads us to think, that unless others follow in our footsteps and provide a safer public service, the dangers of easy online accessibility in public areas, may just overpower the benefits.

For more information on Spectrum Internet please visit www.spectruminternet.com


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