The function which launched in January 2014 in the town of St. Gallen enables internet customers to surf the net free of charge using the local Wi-Fi hotspots of other customers when they are in reach. To enable the service, a second, separate hot sport for third parties will be activated in the modems through a software update.
The co-surfers get a data rate of 5Mbps for downloads and 500 Kbit/s for uploads. The bandwidth is provided on top of the users’ individual tariffs, so it won’t affect their own speeds. Customers who don’t want to offer Wi-Free can deactivate the function through online customer portal MyUPC.
With more than 500,000 potential hotspots, Wi-Free will become Switzerland’s largest Wi-Fi network, according to UPC Cablecom. The sister companies in the Netherlands, Poland and Ireland have already deployed Wi-Free. UPC Cablecom’s customers can use the service, for example when on holiday.
US parent company Liberty Global wants to also roll out Wi-Free at its other cable subsidiaries in future.