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Johanne Torres[March 3, 2005]

British WiFi Hotspots Get Skyped


Skype announced today that the VoIP rebel provider struck a deal with wireless broadband operator Broadreach to allow users to place free telephone calls over the Web from laptops and handheld computers in 350 locations including major train stations around Britain.

According to the companies’ statement, current Skype users will be able to access and use their Skype service at no charge wherever there is a ReadytoSurf hotspot, which are offered by five year-old Broadreach, a Britain-based public wireless Internet hotspots operator.

Broadreach usually charges 3 pounds an hour for Internet access over one of its WiFi or Wireless LAN connections. Thanks to the new agreement, its network will be free for consumers making calls through their Skype account.

Both companies said that the access should be seamless and immediate, allowing Skype users to automatically log onto a Broadreach WiFi network when the user launches the Skype application.

Broadreach is currently available on Eurostar, Network Rail and Virgin Trains, in addition to Travelodge and Quality Hotels, Queens Moat House, Scottish Youth Hostels, and Little Chef, Sainsbury's, EAT, BagelFactory and Virgin Megastores retail establishments.

Users of the new service will only be charged to access data services such as Web-browsing and e-mail.

Johanne Torres is contributing editor for and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She can be reached by e-mail at

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