Belgacom deploys 500K Wi-Fi hotspots

Belgian incumbent Belgacom plans to offer half a million free Wi-Fi hotspots to its customers by end-2012, with the first 100,000 due to be online by the close of 2011.
The operator today detailed its plan to deploy the hotspot network in conjunction with Spanish Wi-Fi firm Fon. The Belgian network will be available to all Belgacom’s fixed broadband subscribers, who will have their Wi-Fi modems configured by Fon to operate in a semi-public mode.
A Belgacom press statement offers assurances the public and private elements of home hotspots “are completely separate,” and that sharing the connection is “completely safe.” Customers can opt-out of enabling the public access, however they sacrifice access to the nationwide network when doing so.

Belgacom follows in the footsteps of the likes of British Telecom, which offers customers access to three million domestic hotspots, as operators increasingly turn to Wi-Fi as a point of differentiation for their fixed-line broadband services.