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BBC makes content free over wifi

UK broadcaster the BBC said Tuesday that it is to make all of its online content available for free across 7,500 wifi hotspots.

A deal with wifi network operator The Cloud will allow the public to access all bbc.co.uk content through the provider’s UK hotspot network.

The 7,500 hotspots are located at UK locations including McDonald’s, Coffee Republic, BAA airports at Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted as well as a number of outdoor locations including Canary Wharf and the City of London.

BBC director of Future Media & Technology, Ashley Highfield, said, “This venture enables us to offer free wifi access to BBC content on the high street, furthering the BBC’s commitment to make its content as widely available as possible to our audiences wherever they are.”

The Beeb has already made television programmes from the last seven days available for free download via its iPlayer service, which launched in the summer amid trepidation from the operator community. A number of UK ISPs raised concerns over the launch of iPlayer, worried that delivering the service will put too much strain on their networks if it proves popular among the masses.

But the move marks a new revenue angle for The Cloud, which will now be getting its cash from the content provider rather than the end user.

Visitors to bbc.co.uk via The Cloud network will be able to view content on all wifi compatible devices but users will only be able to download programmes from BBC iPlayer via a laptop.

In due course it is anticipated the service will be available via mobile phones and other handheld devices.

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