There’s some good news for internet users: there will be 47.7 million public Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide by the end of 2014, growing to over 340 million or one for every 20 people on Earth by 2018. According to new research from iPass, the world’s largest commercial Wi-Fi network, the UK has one Wi-Fi hotspot for every 11 people and worldwide there is one public hotspot for every 150 people.
As of now, France has the most hotspots in total followed by the US and UK. Europe currently has 50% of the world’s hotspots, by 2018, its position will be replaced by Asia. Today, China has five times more commercial Wi-Fi hotspots than any other nation.
The research suggests that most people associate ‘free Wi-Fi’ with coffee shops or hotels. iPass say more than 34 million of connections are in homes. The fixed line operators with superfast broadband in the ground are converting home Wi-Fi signals to community hotspot providers at the rate of 1 per second. Operators that offer Wi-Fi to the home are splitting off part of the hotspot to be used publicly by their customers, so a Comcast customer who has Wi-Fi in his or her home can agree to share the hotspot with others and then in turn share hotspots in other customers’ homes.
June Bower, chief marketing officer at iPass said that every second home you pass by will turn to a public hotspot that you can use if you are part of that provider’s network. The research also predicts Wi-Fi availability will grow to from 16% to 60% on planes, from 3% to 11% on trains.