According to a study commissioned by iPass, the worlds most prolific, largest commercial wi-fi provider, the UK has 1 wi-fi hotspot per 11 people of the population. This staggering statistic comes to light as the study’s results show a blanketing of wi-fi services across most of the developed world.
Most reading these statistics would be forgiven for thinking that the majority of this number is made up of coffee houses, cafes and hotel lobbies but surprisingly the main protagonist is actually the ‘community hotspot’ or ‘home spot’ emitting from millions of private subscribers and homes.
The ‘home spot’ is a service which enables private wi-fi subscribers to activate their internet router into transmitting two seperate bandwidths. One bandwidth remains the sole province of the private subscriber, completely secure and detached from a second bandwidth which creates a wi-fi hotspot for passers-by who also subscribe to the same service and want to access the internet.
From the service providers perspective it not only allows faster connection speeds but it also facilitates the patching up of areas which may suffer from poor mobile phone coverage.
The results also show that by the end of this year 47.7 million wi-fi signals will be transmitting at any given point around the world with this number set to rise to approximately 340 million, or to put it a different way, there’d be 1 hotspot for every 20 people globally by 2018.
To date, Europe is the global leader in terms of volume of wi-fi hotspots with France being the most networked in the world followed by the US and then the UK. Today the UK has one public wi-fi spot for every 11 people in the population.
The Chief Marketing Officer June Bower at iPass told the BBC that “every second home you walk past will be a public hotspot that you can use if you are part of that providers network”.
As staggering as these statistics are Asia will over take Europe by 2018 in regards to the shear number of available public hotspots as shown so brilliantly by iPass’s wi-fi growth map.
Interestingly though unlike the mobile phone sector where a handful of companies dominate that particular landscape, there is as yet no real big player in the wi-fi space, leaving the door open for big business opportunities.
However, reports indicate that Google is researching several areas in California that may just pave the way for Google’s wi-fi hotspot market growth.