British Telecom has announced this week that it has reached 464,700 hotspots in Scotland, including around 32,300 across Ayrshire.
There are 10,400 hotspots in East Ayrshire; 10,800 in North Ayrshire and 11,100 in South Ayrshire. The Scottish total is up from 320,000 in January last year, when the Ayrshire share was almost 23,000.
Across the UK and Ireland, the company has added more than 20,000 new hotspots each week over the past year, taking the total to five million.
BT saw more than 400 million connections across its wi-fi network in 2012/13 and latest figures show users’ online wi-fi time is increasing, with minutes more than tripling in the same period.
Brendan Dick, director of BT Scotland, said: “We are seeing growing use of our network as wi-fi users spend more time online and use more data. People are now so confident and comfortable with their gadgets, we’ve had to meet the demand with more hotspots in a wider choice of places – on the high street and in thousands of neighbourhoods across the country.”
An incredible 13 petabytes of data (13 billion megabytes) were consumed across BT’s wi-fi network during 2012/13. The volume is the equivalent of downloading 3.9 billion MP3s (iTunes currently has 26m songs in its library), or non-stop streaming of The Hobbit in HD for 1042 years.
If you were to take smartphone photos placed side by side, this amount of data would be over 624,000 miles long or long enough to wrap around the equator twice.
Research conducted by BT and ICM has found that usage trends for wi-fi vary according to age. Most 18-24s favour wi-fi for social media, whilst the 35-44 age group chooses to shop online.
Most 45-54s use it for GPS and mapping services, whilst the over 65s use wi-fi for finding discount vouchers or codes.
A hotspot is a site that offers internet access over a wireless local area network (WLAN) through the use of a router connected to a link to an internet service provider. Hotspots typically use wi-fi technology.
Hotspots may be found in coffee shops and various other public establishments.
Public access wireless local area networks (LANs) were first proposed by Henrik Sjödin at the NetWorld+Interop conference in The Moscone Center in San Francisco in August 1993.
Sjödin did not use the term hotspot but instead referred to publicly accessible wireless LANs.