back to article 5,000 UK pubs get free Wi-Fi... and they're not even all in London

Punch Taverns, operator of more than 5,000 tenanted and leased pubs in the UK, has signed with The Cloud to put free Wi-Fi in all of them in the hope of promoting a little lunchtime drinking. That's drinking coffee and tea, as well as beer, but the chain reckons sales of everything increase once Wi-Fi is freely available as …


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  1. o5ky
    Thumb Up

    More fun to be had with the droidsheep like software?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You get what you pay for

    Trouble with most of this "free wifi" is that it normally gives about the same performance as a 56K modem.

    Presumably so that you'll drink more beer whilst you wait for the page to load.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: You get what you pay for

      The non-profit community Internet Cafe I help run has 40mb, not bad for a little village, coffee's not bad either, but no beer I'm afraid.

    2. auburnman

      Re: You get what you pay for

      And of course the filter for family friendly content will likely block any blog, news or enteratainment site that has ever done a swear (i.e. the ones worth reading)

    3. NightFox
      Thumb Down

      Re: You get what you pay for

      ...and also half the time it's not even working as as far as any as the staff are aware, it's just that box on the wall with the flashing lights on that's probably something to do with the burglar alarm

    4. allegoricus

      Re: You get what you pay for

      "Trouble with most of this "free wifi" is that it normally gives about the same performance as a 56K modem."

      And with the Cloud there's about two-minutes-worth of arsing about logging in. Quicker just to use 3G in many cases.

      1. HipposRule

        Re: You get what you pay for

        @allegoricus, not if you are a 'shock horror' Sky subscriber

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Surprised they are still going when almost everyone gets free BT openzone access etc.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      you have to pay for Open Zone unless you mad enough to have BT broadband

    2. Rob

      They have a signed a deal with a big partner

      The Cloud is offered for free to Sky subscribers, I think it is if you have their broadband package rather than just TV. I have the app for detecting their spots and the coverage they have in built up areas and town centres is bloody excellent. I'm usually on WiFi in any town I visit, fairly confident that I'm not eating into my Tariff Data.

      1. mark1978

        Re: They have a signed a deal with a big partner

        Yep, and the best part is it just logs you in, no messing on with the settings.

    3. Buzzword


      Virgin Media is a pretty big player in domestic broadband.

      1. HipposRule

        Re: Virgins

        Not outside cities methinks? I don't know anyone on it, actually I do know one person in Bristol

    4. Bod

      Openzone - where?

      Ignoring FON spots and the like of zero bandwidth being spewed from unaware Home Hub owners, it's rare to find a genuine working BT Openzone hotspot. Usually only one or two in a town.

      Anyway, the problem with "free" pub hotspots is they usually make you spend half an hour trying to register and give away tonnes of your personal details, and only then do you get a tiny fraction of bandwidth allocated to you. I usually give up within a minute and just use 3G if I'm really in a need to surf while boozing.

      Openzone is slightly quicker if you happen to have a valid login (I get one via Orange), but still takes a while or you have to use a clunky buggy app that will do it for you or trashes your phone (Orange's app for example).

  4. Khaptain Silver badge
    Black Helicopters

    Be carefull of the Google monster

    Is there by any chance a hidden agenda whereby Google will attempt to determine how many pints you have consumed in relation to the amount of time spent connected to the pub Wifi....

    I suppose it would be interesting to learn what people surf for after 6 or 7 pints/vodkas .....

    1. Vic

      Re: Be carefull of the Google monster

      > I suppose it would be interesting to learn what people surf for after 6 or 7 pints/vodkas

      Why do you think eBay exists?


  5. Gonebirdin

    Included with Sky

    I get free cloud wifi as part of my Sky subscription. Quite useful on the phone as their app detects and signs you in automatically

  6. ukgnome

    This is an advertisers dream

    1. zaax

      Already adverts on the log-in page.

      I do hope other meeting places take note as well as TOC's its a right pain logging-in and very slow.

  7. illiad

    Some Pubs have no clue..

    the worst I know, has their modem 'down in the office' so you get almost no signal!!! I did bot believe it was 'theirs' at first, so checked with staff...

    the next, almost as bad, is signal going up and down so badly, its just not worth it!!!

    then there are those using 'web login' that a lot of older phones just cannot understand... and when you do get the prompt, you have to find someone to tell you 'todays password' ... :( :(

    BT openzone?? no, not everyone, if you dont have a big wallet! above probs still apply, plus finding the 'right one' amongst the crowd!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Some Pubs have no clue..

      My local has an unsecured wifi router by the telly (mainly so the satellite can connect to it's ccam server). It's alright, crashes a bit, but I'm allowed to wander up to it and reset it because I'm a computer guy and I "know about these things" apparently.

  8. Lee Taylor
    Thumb Up

    One of out local pub has Cloud Wifi..... handly provided by Gregs The Bakers next door!

    1. My Opinion



  9. Lamont Cranston

    Free as in "complimentary for paying customers"

    or free as in "give us all your personal details, so that we might pass them on to all of our advertising partners"?

    1. Fibbles

      Re: Free as in "complimentary for paying customers"

      I've had an epiphany. How about we enter false details when signing up to things like this? After all, they only need your real details if they're trying to bill you for something which should not be the case with 'free' wifi.

      You can all thank me for being the first person ever to come up with this amazing idea by buying me a pint.

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Here's your pint,

        but I can't use your idea, owing to the fact that I'm scrupulously honest.

        BTW, it's not a real pint - sorry.

      2. scrubber

        Re: Free as in "complimentary for paying customers"

        I went to my local Punch tavern and shouted out, "Is Fibbles here, I need to buy him a beer!"

        And was promptly ejected.

      3. Allan George Dyer

        Re: Free as in "complimentary for paying customers"

        I'd get you a pint, but I don't know who to give it to, your details are false...

    2. illiad

      Re: Free as in "complimentary for paying customers"

      LOL just get a email like 'send :) details like your local post office postcode, etc, etc... :) :)

  10. Simon Barnes

    Miss Congeniality ?

    how is a pub more congenial than a coffee shop ?

    1. Helena Handcart

      Re: Miss Congeniality ?


    2. Fibbles

      Re: Miss Congeniality ?

      Fewer, if any, hipsters.

    3. MJI Silver badge


      Proper drinks not stinky hot drinks (don't like the smell of coffee)

    4. Marvin the Martian

      Re: Miss Congeniality ?

      The pub is more comfy as the coffee bar --- but it's far harder to work efficiently in a comfy sofa than on a rickety metal table. So it will remain coffee places here.

  11. adnim

    Punch Taverns

    look like commercial family venues and not purveyors of fine real ale. At least the one nearby does, there is a kiddies plaything outside.

    I need a real ale with my WiFi and if they do real ale then they just might see some of my custom. If not, a couple of glasses of wine and a plate of chips in the beer garden on a sunny day could make a pleasant change from working at my desk.

    It would be nice if it is really free, free as in no registration, no creating an account, no filling in forms that ask personal and irrelevant information. I would expect some advertising to support this which is fair enough. If the advertising is too intrusive then those that have control of their device can just block it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Punch Taverns

      My local is a Punch tavern, it does both kinds of beer; Tennents and McEwans.

  12. Alan Edwards
    Thumb Up

    The Cloud

    The Cloud is usually pretty good in Wetherspoons pubs, apart from one place that has put the wifi box in one corner and the comfy chairs in the other so it's too weak to connect any more, and the Fayre-something one near the office.

    O2 wifi in McDonalds wants my mobile number, which they're not getting. One day I'll remember to take a throw-away SIM with me to sign up with.

    I think it's BT that does Starbucks free wifi - that worked OK the one time I tried it.

  13. Wize

    My local...

    ... had free wifi long ago.

    Part of the Bellhaven chain and all the pubs round here had the same access. Connect to the point, enter the password (on the wall of the pub) and you are in.

    Now they have gone to Cloud. I now have to tell them email addresses, mobile number, etc to get on. What a pain. I no longer look at the 'Free WiFi' with as much excitement as I used to.

  14. Velv

    Family Friendly

    I've always loved the law in this country and how its applied (sarcasm).

    While technically there may be under 18s in the pub, the reality is that the vast majority of patrons will be over 18, so why do they publicise it as "family friendly" (I have no problem with them filtering, just how they express it).

    It's like the cigarette machines in the pubs that have signs that say "You must be over 16 to use this machine".

    (rant over)

    1. HipposRule

      Re: Family Friendly

      As cigarette machines are now behind the bar, if they exist at all - and it shows when you were last in a pub, the over 16 sign doesn't tend to exist

  15. Mattjimf

    All Brewdog bars have the same password for the wifi (or at least they should have), so you connect in one and it's the same across all the bars. Plus it's a standard router connection, no sign up required.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I use the pubs 'Cloud' internet all the time (as a Sky subscriber so nice easy login), fine for checking those work emails when you should be relaxing on a Friday night seeing Zabbix tell you that processor load is too high on ServerX!

  17. tin 2


    Free wifi provided by the cloud == just the same as no wifi at all.

  18. Malcolm Boura

    Filtering or censorship?

    These "family friendly" filters are anything but. They are based on perceived popular prejudice, not objective evidence of harm and be benefit. They encourage attitudes that result in widespread and often serious harm, mainly to children and young people. It is censorship and it should be called censorship. Mary Whitehouse would be proud of them.

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