back to article BT reprograms biz customers as hotspots

BT has begun transforming its commercial customers' Business Hubs into OpenZone hotspots for any passing Tom, Dick or Harry to share, and leaving businesses to figure out how to opt out of the scheme after the fact. Under the scheme, 20,000 BT Business Broadband customers have already had their hubs upgraded, with another 200, …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Fuck me!

    This is just so cheeky!

    Why build out infrastructure when you can STEAL bandwidth paid for by your own customers? Oh well I'm sure they get a discount to offset this...? What, no, they're then CHARGING you (or your customers!) for the privilege of using it?!!

    PLEASE PLEASE all BT Business Broadband customers opt OUT of this blatant piss-taking rip-off and show BT the big fat finger!

  2. Anonymous Coward

    hang on......

    for them stealing the bandwidth you're paying for, you get entered in a lucky dip?

    I call on all businesses to turn this crap off. Either BT boosts your bandwidth for free or all bets are off. As in fuck right.

  3. dervheid

    BT - you suck!

    "BT claims the OpenZone users are securely separated from local users". Do you think anyone will believe you.

    First 'Webwise' (spits), now this.

    You really *are* such a security concious outfit.

    Ooops, almost forgot about that oh so secure BT Homehub (the old one, of course)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ask first...

    That is the generally accepted way to do things in business, but given BT's attitude to its customers (Phorm anyone), it is no surprise that this is opt OUT not opt IN.

    Maybe they are trying set a precedent for what opting out means... something that happens after you have had no choice in the matter.

  5. BlueGreen

    I am fucking speechless

    and I don't normally do a Dzubia. After cocking it up with Sender Verification and Phorm, they do this.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Ask first...

    >"Maybe they are trying set a precedent for what opting out means... something that happens after you have had no choice in the matter."

    Errr... that IS what "opt-out" means, isn't it? That's why we insist very strongly that marketing e-mil has to be opt-IN and not opt-OUT (aka 'spam'), no?

  7. Ian Chard

    That explains why

    last night I got a BT Openzone login screen on my laptop, when I'm miles from the nearest hotspot. I just assumed it was a fake hotspot set up to gather credentials. But then how can you tell the difference?

  8. James Henstridge

    remote updates

    So why exactly do businesses give BT the ability to update their hubs remotely?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Bog off BT

    That might explain why I've seen two new wlans appear in our office block in the last few days... both called "BT Openzone". Think I might pay a visit to some of our neighbours and help them turn it off.

    An opt-in scheme with the benefit of being able to access others wlans low cost or free is one thing, but and "we'll sign you up, you have to realise we've done it then work out how to opt-out" is un-acceptable. Outrageous!!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Explains why

    ...when I booted up my new laptop, it was able to straightaway access the internet via OpenZone.

    I was a bit surprised, as I hadn't told it to connect to anything.

  11. Alex Connor
    Thumb Down

    No Suprise

    Seems to be the way things are done these days, opting people into things without sufficient info on why are doing it, or even if the customer needs it.

    I'd like the legallity of doing things like this assessed and make it so you can't be 'opted in' to things you don't want or need, but i doubt that's gonna happen.

    Just another way this country is going to the wall. Just wish i could move somewhere else. Would be easier to put up with this shite if the weather was pleasant all year round!

  12. Matt
    Black Helicopters

    And the lucky IP address is...

    Oh yes, I can just see it now...

    Small business leaves exciting new 'bandwidth sharing' option on, drive-by terrorist/paedophile/other threat to security logs in and uses said bandwidth for all manor of unspeakable purposes, small business subsequently raided by police, computer equipment seized, small business goes bust due to inability to function.

    Even when proved that said unspeakable internet activity was nothing to do with small business, it will be too late.

    A wonderful idea.

  13. Paul

    What's the bet...

    ... that not a single MP or major media organisation raises any objections.

    It's hardly surprising BT are doing this, it wouldn't surprise me if it was part of a conspiracy to allow the Spooks easy access to our data without ever informing us.

  14. ben

    Faraday Cage?

    I would like to see them enable a usable BT Openzone hot spot on my bizhub... not only is wireless disabled, the router is inside a Faraday cage

  15. jason

    So time to change your router...

    .....or ISP then?

    Plus wouldnt it be so much nicer if they offrered a substantial discount for allowing your bandwidth to be used and also a 'get out of jail free' pass in case folks were pulling in kiddie porn over it?

    Is the bandwidth/traffic so well differenciated that the business owner would not be liable? After all that kind of sh*t sticks.

  16. Wize

    How long before the Home Hubs get the same treatment?

    I think its a bit rich. Customer buys bandwidth. BT steals some back and sells it to another customer.

    Mine is the one with the fake hotspot in the pocket, gathering all your login details.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Current Software Version:

    I might opt in when asked - just to see if I can't frustrate/ violate some openzoners.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Hello, security anyone?

    Can you imagine how many businesses are gonna like having ppl snooping around on their networks, wireless or otherwise.

    Security is all about layers and there goes about three layers worth of security in one go. BT have some customers who would be nice juicy targets and this would make life even easier for the criminals.

    Perhaps this is BTs way of telling their customers to go elsewhere in a northern rock kind of way.

    Add to this, reliability. You can forget about voip when someone's using your network for p2p - but I guess it doesn't really matter too much anymore because the various filters already employed by virtually every ISP already make VOIP a fairly pointless exercise a lot of the time anyway.

  19. Mark
    Thumb Down


    My company used to have BT as a service provider, and to be fair they regulary used to e-mail me updates....... to the BT e-mail address they configured for me when they set up my account. Not the company e-mail address i provided them with and consequently the one I actually use. Took a couple of month to get them to auto forward stuff to the correct email address.

    Suffice to say we no longer use BT.

  20. David Pollard

    User? ISP?

    Does this turn users into ISPs? If so, will they be required to install their own pr0n blocking and record details of their internet traffic too? Presumably, BT takes care of this aspect.

    Maybe there is scope for a bit of "It ain't me guv, honest" insurance here. "It must have been a passing trrrst..." albeit at the cost of paying twice for the same data.

    Alternatively, are there any secure wireless routers, or software equivalents, that will allow socially inclined members of the public to share a suitably limited portion of their (non-BT) bandwidth to passers-by using their own version of a BT hub and contribute to this bold experiment in universal connectivity?

  21. Gary Owen

    Sky next?

    Dear Sky TV purchaser,

    We upgraded your Sky+ Box overnight which has removed your curtains and invites everyone in your street to peer through the window and watch your Sky television package, which by the way you are paying us for. You may opt out by hanging your curtains back up.

    Twats - this cannot be legal.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Perhaps looking for a Intel Gathering angle would be in order?

  23. Yorkshirepudding

    BT: epic fail

    wow what a bunch of fucktards oh well means more custom for me...

  24. Cucumber C Face
    Black Helicopters

    Uberdatabase implications?

    >>BT claims the OpenZone users are securely separated from local users<<

    Hmm.. my fear would be Jacqui Smith kicking down my door after a passing turrurist, p&ado, extreme pron fan or fly tipper solicited some hot interweb action via my router.

  25. David Taylor

    A new low indeed

    I can understand why they would make this service opt-out rather than opt-in...

    Who would volunteer to let BT resell the bandwidth you paying them for, back to you!?

    Tto then suggest they give the bandwidth away to their customers is perhaps taking it a bit too far. For one thing, if they want to provide free Wi-Fi access to the internet over their connection, they could give the bandwidth away WITHOUT paying BT for it (again).

  26. Anonymous Coward

    What a brilliant idea

    Yep it sure is, because they know that anyone using BT as an isp for their business and using the gobsmackingly arse "router" that they provide for free, then they already know the business is one of those that really doesn't have any it infrastructure and won't care less if things like this happen.

  27. Andrew Culpeck

    step away from the "BT"

    Who still uses these idiots

  28. Tim Jenkins

    Shurely Shome Mishtake

    THE BT Openzone News release on this, "Free BT public Wi-Fi hotspot for every business broadband customer"


    is a classic.

    First paragraph:

    "BT today launches the new BT Business Total Broadband hub, the first business broadband package to provide a free public Wi-Fi hotspot. Any business can now offer Wi-Fi to visitors - either as a free service or by selling BT Openzone vouchers to create a new revenue stream"

    Last paragraph:

    "20,000 existing customers have already received firmware to enable the hotspot in their BT Business Hubs and a further 200,000 will receive the upgrade this quarter. BT Business Total Broadband customers who wish to switch off the hotspot capability can do so using the Hub Manager on their desktops."

    So we 'can' (ie now do, because BT switched it on without our permission) offer guest internet access, using our bandwidth, to every passing perv with a set of stolen openzone account credentials, and we 'can' (ie haven't, because we didn't know) switch if off if we subsequently find out this has happened. But it's 'free', so that's OK. A masterful use of English there, IMHO.

    I would also suggest a look at the Openzone Support pages on this subject ( for another chuckle, particularly the "If someone uses my broadband connection to access an illegal site, can I prove that it wasn't me accessing it?" section. Print it out and have it ready for that dawn raid...

    Note that BT themselves admit that although they only offer 512K to 'guests', this is fixed and not dependant of your actual line speed ("I have enabled my BT Openzone service and now the performance of my LAN is degraded, what should I do?"). One of our locations only gets 1.1Mb anyway, so that's potentially just halved, unlike our monthly rental.

    I would go on to plough through their T&Cs to try and find where I gave them permission to do this, but frankly I'm losing the will to live ; )

    Pirates, because AK-wielding Somalis have more honest business practices.

  29. Adrian

    Why so negative ?

    This is excellent news. I've had a FON router for a year or so, and no-one's used it yet. It should give me free access to wifi elsewhere, but there aren't many in the areas where I need them : I'd have to go and sit in the car outside someone's house.

    BT joining the scheme looked like a big improvement (they share FON access on home hubs but not the paid-for hubs) since it provides a much larger user base .. but hardly any homehubs have it enabled. Opting out rather than opting in is a much more sensible way to do it.

    And what's the catch ? You lose a bit of bandwidth. For most residential users, you don't even lose that. In my experience it's the servers and caches that are slow, not the local link. You can always turn it off. In return, you get free access anywhere that someone else contributes.

    Security ? Privacy ? I thought we didn't have those any more. If you care, it's easy enough to put the router in the DMZ.

    Paytards, all of you. Share and benefit.

  30. Blitz
    Paris Hilton

    "Opt Out"

    I believe this is how (if like myself are a BT Business customer) you 'opt out' of this absolutely ridiculous scheme by BT. I'm absolutely f*cking speechless at their audacity to resell bandwidth that I HAVE ALREADY BLOODY PAID FOR!!!


    How can I turn my BT Openzone service on and off?

    This can be done via the BT Business Hub's web interface. From a device connected to the Business Hub and local area network (either connected with Ethernet, USB or on the BTBusinessHub SSID), do the following:

    Open a web browser and go to http://home.

    Click on the Services tab at the top of the page.

    Click on the Openzone menu option.

    Click on the Enable/Disable button, depending on the action you wish to perform.


    The changes may not be instantaneous. It could take up to 30 minutes for the service to be fully enabled or disabled because of the need to communicate with the BT network. The status shows as pending until this process has completed.


    Paris because much like BT you never know what bad thing you'll get when you dip into it.

  31. Anonymous Coward

    Home users

    We have about 50 or so home users, all with Business Broadband lines provided by us, and using the BT supplied hubs.

    Are BT going to be paying for the extra support costs that are now going to be involved by us having to arrange with all our home users to connect in and switch off this new 'feature'?

  32. Steven Raith
    Dead Vulture

    Hmm. Multicast...

    When I multicast [as opposed to unicast] ghost images through my router, it causes the CPU to ram up to 100% all other network activity to die on it's arse.

    I wonder if anyone will find a similar trick for these? Seperate VLAN [or similar logical segregation on security grounds] for wireless is useless if the CPU is overloaded and can't process any data anyway...

    Gravestone, with respect to the dead router.

    Steven R

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Err. You don't lose bandwidth, it gives your own traffic priority over the hotspot traffic. If you're maxing out your connection then the hotspot users get nothing.

    The hotspot users can't get onto your network, the router creates a separate non-encrypted wireless network for the hotspot traffic. This runs along side your existing wireless network (which I assume you'd setup to be encrypted).

    It doesn't cost you any more as the hotspot traffic is tagged so that it is distinguishable from your own private traffic.

    You can't get done for hotspot users accessing dodgy things as the hotspot traffic is tagged as such. It can be traced back to whichever BT Openzone user credentials are used to authenticate at the start of the session.

    Making it Opt-Out is a bit shitty though. As is not providing any way of knowing whether you're logging into the real BT Openzone website, or some fake website someone has setup to gather Openzone credentials.

    Look at the details for BT FON...

  34. raving angry loony


    It'll be fun and games until the businesses start getting billed for over-use of their bandwidth at a quid a kilobyte.

  35. Steven
    Thumb Down

    Last straw - BT gone

    I browse a fair bit - they run an advert about "Cleaning up the oceans" that I had never seen on any other website.

    A couple of weeks ago, that advert started appearing on my Yahoo Mail website.

    I'd never been contacted about Phorm in any way, shape or form, but look, lo and behold, there's a nice WebSlyWise cookie on my PC.

    Now with Sky. Oddly enough, BT didn't protest me leaving too much the minute I brought up wanting to see their proof that what they were doing was legal...

  36. Chronos
    Thumb Up

    Hey, random person!

    Have some direct access to my corporate network! You can tell what IP range it uses as you already have an address in it, along with the netmask. Join my domain and sniff for passwords! Play with the remote registry service! Run tcpdump, wireshark [1] and grab all my confidential files from the fileserver! Are you infected with Conficker? Spiffing! Infect my machines while you're there! I'm sure BT will have done an impact analysis of the dangers associated with this arsery, covering edge cases etc., so I'm not worried at all.

    Or that's what I might say if I were wont to bury my head and had a Windows domain without edge filtering foisted upon me by some clueless mangler who then insisted I connect a sodding wide open access point to it. Bloody mental. Where the hell was Schneier when it was decided this was a good plan?

    Having said that, anyone using such equipment with backdoors to the firmware (which is, essentially, what this is) deserves everything he or she gets. Get a Draytek and stop buggering about. Oh, and a decent ISP would probably be a good idea, too.

    [1] OK, I know, putting your wireless card in promiscuous mode is only ever going to pick up broadcasts and packets that were destined for your MAC (ODFO, Jobsians. Media Access Control) anyway, but the media is full of sky-falling, maniacal ranting so why should I be excluded from all the fun? It *is* possible to do this semi-securely but I very much doubt these little Thompson all-in-one boxen can do things like network segmentation. After all, once you have an authenticated (wireless or otherwise) link to the AP, the world's your lobster. Now, if you'll just excuse me, I'm going to install a network socket attached to the core switch in the car-park for the convenience of my "visitors" and other random miscreants, since BT think it's a courteous gesture.

  37. Jeff
    Thumb Up

    I wonder if they can tell where the traffic comes from..

    because if not.. this might be the end of BT ever ending someone's contract because they've breached the 'fair use' terms...

  38. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Easier pickings then a webcafe. All those office drones checking their bank stuff / ebay / hotmail accounts!

  39. zenkaon

    It's shit like this....

    ....that makes me glad I run openWRT on my routers. I'm in control of my network, not the ISP.

  40. Anonymous Coward

    I assume

    that all of these routers are powered by the local power supply and that power supply is paid for by the business owner.

    I also assume that BT is using the powered router WITHOUT the owners permission, therefore using electricity without the owners permission.

    Sounds like theft of electricity to me.

  41. Justin Cottrell

    Internet went down for 1 company i got called to!!!!!!

    Lol, I went to a company this morning where their internet went down after this update. BT DefinateIy didnt think this trhrough.

    For people who are using an internal ip set of 10.*.*.* and have lost the internet, the update caused the subnet 10.*.*.* ip range to be set up for the BT Wireless Hotspot. BT Site says the following:-

    I am trying to select the subnet 10.x.x.x IP range and have received an error on my Graphical User Interface (GUI)

    Even if Openzone is disabled, the subnet 10.x.x.x IP range settings remain, therefore it is advisable to use an alternative IP range or follow the steps below to obtain the subnet 10.x.x.x IP range:

    I cant be bothered to paste the rest, but you get the general idea. Wonder how many companies have lost internet access, or are about to.

    Some muppet definately didnt think this through

  42. Michael

    It's a competition !

    Between Eircom and BT as to how much piss-taking they can carry out before April 1st.

  43. David Hicks

    Oh for god's sake

    Yes, that's right, Terrorists and paedophiles are waiting around every corner to use any available, paid Wi-FI service!

    For god's sake people, have you really bought into that level of hysteria?

    This is a bad move for BT, but please, lets have some perspective, it's not a war zone outside your front door, neither is everyone on the street a predatory pervert. YOU are what's causing the breakdown of society.

  44. Anonymous Coward

    Doesn't this violate British Law?

    Stealing bandwidth, which making the business pay for the same bandwidth twice is, in the US would violate Title 18 U.S.C. 1030. Doesn't the UK have some similar law?

  45. Anonymous Coward


    Jacqui Smith in charge of BT now ?. Seems type of thing she and Labour Govt would do ,i.e. fucking stupid idea.

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Maybe the prize......

    for the "Prize Draw" will be that they will enter you in the Phorm "experiment" again for free and without your know ?. We don't want Phorm by the way. Thats me no one else as everyone else

    loves it,lol.

  47. Ash

    This is a *GOOD* thing!

    You have carte blanche from BT for being not culpable for the data being sent and received over your BT connection now. You are immune to prosecution.

    BT altered your hardware to offer open access. They are responsible.

    N.B. Not a lawyer. Someone who is; Comments?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    So they snatch the whole 10.x.x.x network just for the Open Wound? Do they really expect that there will be 1.6 million devices connected to the network from the BT Hub? And can that little device support that many DHCP allocations, and talk to that many devices with just 1 paltry radio? Of course not.

    Using 10.x.x.x is a retarded decision, just what you expect from BT. But let's be fair, many people who have BT have BT because it's who they always used for communications.

    Where are the monopolies commission too? If I wanted to create a country wide public wifi network I would now be competing with BT's OpenZune, and they have managed to roll that out simply by using their already dominant position in another market.

  49. Julian
    Thumb Down

    Philosophical BT

    BT's philosophy appears to be:

    "It is easier to beg forgiveness than it is to ask permission"

  50. simon maasz
    Thumb Up

    Why so negative?

    I was offered this a couple of months ago. I run a coffee shop and was wondering at the time how to offer my customers WiFi access. This to me is a benefit that costs me nothing - I even asked BT for some stickers to advertise the service. I think a few people should read up how it works - different subnet, different SSID, so openzone traffic is isolated. Local traffic takes priority over openzone traffic, etc etc. Most of the envisaged problems don't exist.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    planning consent?

    I suspect in some cases there would be an issue with planning consent as your effectively changing from being an office to an internet cafe for the public.

    Could also breach covenants in leases and tenancy agreements due to change of business use.

    And what about liability insurance for the new business you have been "given" by BT?

    Paris, even she wouldnt consent to this.

  52. Aaron

    hmm interesting

    I don't use BT (thank god), but this is interesting to me, mainly because id like to actually test how separate the networks are from each other. Id be very interested to see how susceptible this makes anyone using the hotspot to man in the middle attacks from the person who owns the router.

    Imagine all the interesting stuff you could harvest from unsuspecting people choosing to connect to your connection thinking is secure, especially seeing as this is EXACTLY the kind of thing you will need to do to look to implement some of the recent SSL hacks.

    Hmmmm I think im going to be having a play over the weekend.

  53. Dave B

    "Changes made by the cutomer"

    I asked BT and they told me this:

    "there is an option to advertise as a BT Open Zone hotspot and generate revenue but this is only an option and not a compulsory change across the board. Any changes are done so by the customer and not BT"

  54. Kevin Bailey

    What if wireless is off?

    What if wireless is off?

    I take the 'upgrade' won't turn it on.

  55. pctechxp

    Another argument for

    Using your own Customer Premises Equipment so that your service provider does not have access and is why I've never used ISP provided equipment at home.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    points to Fon and a good indication that it'll work.

    Yes, Fon does work, but it's also a very simple scheme.

    first, you sign up to the scheme buy paying for a router. you opt in from the start buying new equpment and all, not secretly being updated at night whilst nobody is looking.

    Second, you get to choose two methods of access, you either allow people onto your network and get to choose to be paid fr the bandwidth that they use, (i.e you're given cash).

    or you get to exchange the bandwidth in a share scheme, that enables you to log onto other Fon hotspots without paying.

    if you choose to sell your bandwidth, you pay to use other peoples, if you choose to share for free your bandwidth then you get to share for free other peoples.

    this is NOT comparable to Fon.

    the only thing that is similar is the fact that the router segregates the two networks into independent networks using the same bandwidth.

  57. N

    well Phucking Phormed

    The principle sounds grand, if you run a public facing business but one or two things send a shiver down my spine

    1. Phorm

    2. You get one of the least secure hardware offerings so any Joe can connect to it & help them selves to your bandwidth.

    3. Ive no idea what kind of data could be acquired by anyone who wanted to exploit the unwary, but that applies to wireless full stop.

  58. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    DOn't the government say I'm liable

    if someone downloads kiddie pr^n through my wifi hub? Isn't that why they say it's my responsibiity to secure it? Is this the end of that, then? Or would it be a good idea to opt out?

    I think I'll opt out....

  59. Ian Chard

    @Aaron et al -- spoofing hotspots

    Having relatively recently implemented a web-capture-portal-type authenticating wireless gateway, I gave this a lot of thought... and came to the conclusion that, unless you know in advance what to expect as the host part of the URL when you get redirected to the login page, there's simply no way around this. It's not a new problem, but it's made worse by the sudden proliferation of BT hotspots, as people will expect to see them everywhere rather than in stations and airports.

    Bad man carries pocket computer while walking through a town. Pocket computer advertises "BT OpenZone" (or whatever it is) as SSID, and redirects browser traffic to a domain for which he serves a valid SSL certificate. He presents a copy of the BT login page and collects the credentials. The SSL certificate is optional, as most users wouldn't think to check for an encrypted connection before logging in.

    ISTR that there's existing malware that does this, advertising something like a "Free Wireless" SSID from its host.

  60. Anonymous Coward


    Unless I am missing something here, it is only turning the hub into an Openzone hub, not a FON access point, meaning that you cannot log-on without a voucher, so no-one uses the bandwith unless oyu have allowed them by either giving or selling a voucher. What is the problem here, if you dont want people using it, dont give out vouchers. Im sure some businesses would like the ability to be able to sell on access while customers are on site.

  61. Scotty

    And being charged for the privilege!

    I just received an email from BT today informing me that they are changing terms on conditions on BT Business Broadband and will, from April 2009, start charging £1 per GB over your bandwidth limit.

    Pinching some of my spare bandwidth is one thing - but charging me for the bandwidth they pinch is really taking the biscuit!

  62. Neil Kay

    I'd be outraged

    We have 10 BT Business broadband accounts in our orgnisation and I have not seen any emails about this.

    I suppose I should be outraged, but I flogged the BT hubs on ebay and installed Drayteks instead.

  63. Jason Kiely
    Thumb Down

    Most Not Aware

    I am a mobile PC Engineer and I have to say ten businesses that I have been to are totally unaware of this. I think BT need to do more to advise their customers. If it was my business I wouldn’t be happy.

  64. Adam


    Seems other companies are jumping on this same bandwagon...

    Now Severn Trent have fitted a water meter to my business, their plan is to 'update' an outside tap on the front of the building for random valeting firms to use.

    Powergen are to fit an outside socket (card operated) next to the outside tap.

    BT (yes, them again) are going to fit a public phonebox connected to my PABX.

    Ok, this is a joke, but what next, this is just BT wanting to say with minimal investment that they are now the biggest provider of wi-fi hotspots in the land, nothing more.

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ David Hicks

    Well, if I wanted to carry out some dodgy communications, this seems to me to be ideal,

    correct me if I am wrong, but all I need to do is wander around looking for a link, no checks are carried out, and the onus is on the owner of the router, because I am sure BT wont spring to their assistance.

    Even in a public hotspot, there is a CCTV usually lurking around, so not a good place to do my misdeeds, better, on a hill overlooking a small , under policed town, with a nice directional antenna, take my pick of all those juicy conduits!!!

    So put my mind at rest, tell me its 101% safe.

  66. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is this possible per contract?

    IANAL, but as you're paying for that link it may be technically part of your computer setup, which makes the "alteration" unauthorised and thus potentially subject to the Computer Misuse Act - especially since YOU did not authorise anyone connecting.

    BT then telling you (via unreliable email) that you can opt out does NOT constitute a change of contract (it's one sided), i.e. it doesn't amount to gaining permission as that requires a positive act, not a negative ("not reacting") act as there is no way to prove you have even been properly notified of the change and have agreed to it.

    It's about as legal as putting everything back when you've been caught as a burglar. It doesn't undo the act. I hope I'm right and someone rams that realisation down their throat via the courts.

    If I'm not right, well, there is always the opportunity to terminate due to the change of contract. Unless they declared that properly upfront they will have caused at least contractually a breach.

    BTW, did anyone notice that the nature of such a remote control also makes it possible to put a tap on your circuit? :-)

    No thanks.

  67. Jon Smit


    If BT can change you setting remotely once, what's to stop them changing the settings again - without informing the user?

    I can't understand why anyone would use BT as their ISP. They've turned piss taking into an art form.

  68. Anonymous Coward

    @AC 27th February 2009 17:32 GMT

    The vouchers for BT Openzone work on any Openzone hotspot. So even if the BT customer sells no vouchers, his WiFi is open to anyone who's bought Openzone credit elsewhere.

    The idea is that you advertise as being an Openzone hotspot and flog vouchers to the public to use them - which is OK if your business is public-facing and has the infrastructure (e.g. a receptionist) to deal with that.

  69. Wayland Sothcott
    Jobs Horns

    Home Hubs too

    The BT Home Hubs regularly update their firmware. The later versions have the FON feature installed but not active. They use V-LAN or virtual local networks to separate one WiFi from another although it's all going through the same radio. They also have BT Fusion which is WiFi for mobile phones.

    It's pretty cleaver stuff. My customers would have no idea that this was going on and would assume that they better let BT do their thing. Only a small percentage will have the smarts to actually opt out.

    It's also an amazingly smart business move, with Open Zones or FONs popping up all over the place then people are bound to use them. It will make the likes of Orange and 3 Mobile look a bit sad.

    You can bet BT have done their homework and have written this into the T&C's. They have been deploying these hubs for ages. In fact any company that gets a large base of it's own gear installed and connected to their servers is in a very powerful position.

  70. Wayland Sothcott
    Thumb Down

    Not an open hotspot

    You need an open zone account to use this so they know who you are. Also they know which hub you connected to. So no, it's not a good way to look at

  71. Jim

    Re: Overreaction

    FMI but, when you buy a voucher for Openzone, you are buying access to the Openzone network via ANY participating hotspot. That means that, even if you personally never give out a voucher, anyone with a valid Openzone voucher/account can use your hotspot, ie you have zero control.

    I seriously wonder at the state of The Law when BT can roll this out as an opt-out scheme rather than opt-in, ie put the feature in place but leave it disabled. And why on earth did they steal the 10 net? Is everyone on the Openzone network on the same subnet or something dumb like that?

  72. Steven Norris
    Thumb Up


    I assume this means that I'll have many more hotspots I can connect to using my iPhone through the O2 - BT Openzone linkup.

  73. Anonymous Coward

    Previous attempt!

    I was one of the experimental BT Business customers who received this upgrade about a year ago. The software upgrade completely scrambled my router and the company was without email access for four days. It took BT staff the whole of the four days to correct the absolute hash created. I hope that they have managed to sort out the software this time. It was relatively simple to stop te service with that software. I just hope they have a better job this time. I doubt I shall be invited this time as I made it quite clear that I would leave BT without notice if they ever tried again. And, I have a letter from BT confirming that they will accept nil notice.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The whole point about opt-out is they prefer to use this as opposed to opt-in because opting in is generally not a sucessful technique for getting the result they want.

    People are generally lazy, so the whole game plan is: put them in to the scheme and a much fewer number will be bothered to opt-out, with the result being much greater people in the scheme than there would be if people were opting-in.

    Asking permission before hand is the generally accepted way of doing business, but that is an opt-in process.

    Same with Phorm. It's evidentally part of BTs buisness approach now, they know something will be unpopular, so they don't want to ask your permission before hand because there's a chance you'll say no, so they do what they want, then rely on you to say "No, this isn't acceptable..p*ss off".

    Unbelievable arrogance. They're bullies at the end of the day.

  75. Steve Roper

    @ David Hicks

    When people talk about "terrorists" and "paedophiles", you should know by now that they aren't merely talking about those who blow things up and offer sweets to children in exchange for sexual favours. While I understand and agree with what you infer, in that such people are in fact quite rare and there is minimal risk of them using anyone's particular hotspot, you need to update your dictionary to the 11th Edition Newspeak version most people are using these days.

    In modern usage, "terrorist" means any man who expresses any dissatisfaction with the way the government is running the country; and "paedophile" means any man who likes looking at pictures of men and/or women engaging in acts of pleasure, or soliciting acts of pleasure from other adults.

    Additionally, "terrorist" also means any man having a skin colour with an RGB value darker than about #CA9D87 (but in most cases higher than about #564439), while "paedophile" means any man having a skin colour of about #BD9485 or lighter - allowing for overlap. Of course, being a photographer, having a bicycle fetish or being born in a large Portuguese-speaking South American country means you are considered to be both regardless of skin colour.

    Consequently, "terrorists" and "paedophiles" currently comprise approximately half the adult population of all Western countries. In light of this alarming statistic, the fears of those here who are concerned about this large a percentage of the populace accessing their OpenZone networks are in fact quite justified.

    Mine's the one with the copies of "the Newspeak Dictionary Edition 11" and "Rectifying Historical Errors Vol. 4: Creating Lifelike Skintones with Photoshop" in the pocket, ta.

  76. Mark

    Business users

    Wouldn't you get yourself a Draytek or more advanced router and dump the standard inhibited lump of shit BT give you? I wouldn't want those fuckers patching my router any more than I'd like them patching my PC or file server.

  77. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    How could a business customer share their bandwith when the connection is so poor already. In normal circumstances their services are close to comatose add a few extra users and it will be in a persistent vegatative state.... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

  78. TeeCee Gold badge

    Re: Why so negative?

    But if you allow this, you're not "sharing" anything in the purely altruistic sense.

    It's a pay-by-voucher service from BT, so all you're doing is allowing BT to get paid twice for providing a connection once.

    Now, if their hotspots were a free service*.........

    *Yeah, fat fucking chance. "BT" isn't usually assumed to stand for "Bloody Thieves" for no reason.

  79. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    questions were asked

    People at low-levels within BT asked questions about security as soon as the involvement of FON was announced. The C team went ahead with it anyway, and the doubters were batted aside with a "bah!" and a dismissive wave of a paw.

    It's still unclear, to me, how you would identify that a spammer/file-sharer was a passing fonero (really - that's what they call them) on the outside, or the owner of a machine connected on the inside.

    Personally speaking, if I wanted to be a really Bad Guy, I'd switch on the FON capability then do what the hell I wanted. I don't think, now, that BT would stand a chance in court.

  80. DutchOven

    RE: Why so negative?

    @ Adrian : "Paytards, all of you. Share and benefit."

    Should that be "Share and BT will benefit"?

    If you share, it's not like anyone can access the network without BT's permission... and how do they get that permission? Simple they buy it from BT!

  81. Tony Hoyle

    Sounds like FON

    It ditched that after I found there was no way to block ports on the public wifi.. so if someone wanted to torrent 24/7 off the back of your connection and blow your download limits out of the water, they could.

    Oh, and the networks were *not* fully separated - there were two SSIDs but once on there were ways of reaching the internal machines if you had a linux box and a bit of imagination.

    Unless they've fixed the flaws I look forward to unsuspecting businesses getting their personal networks hacked daily.

  82. Adrian Coward

    Haven't read all the comments....

    But if it hasn't been mentioned yet, the service will be OPT IN for customers whose routers are upgraded and OPT OUT for new customers.

  83. Steven Norris
    Thumb Down

    When is BT Openzone not BT Openzone?

    ...when you're using the O2 iPhone BT Openzone wifi agreement. Just discovered that the business hub hotspots won't let O2 iPhone users connect for free, whereas the regular Openzone hotspots (in phone boxes etc) work just fine.


  84. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Its opt in, not opt out

    This article is not entirely accurate as the email from BT about this states:

    "If you don’t wish to offer public wireless internet access to your customers and visitors, please ignore the above steps. Your Hub’s default status will stay set to ‘Disabled’ for publicly accessible BT Openzone and will be available for your use only."

    Therefore it would appear that this is an opt in rather than opt out for Business Broadband customers. Still a stupid idea though.

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