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7/27/2009
03:55 PM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Verizon's FiOS Customers Get Free Access To Wi-Fi

If you are a customer of Verizon's fiber-to-the-home FiOS Internet service, you'll soon be able to access a number of public Wi-Fi hot spots for free. Too bad smartphones aren't supported.

If you are a customer of Verizon's fiber-to-the-home FiOS Internet service, you'll soon be able to access a number of public Wi-Fi hot spots for free. Too bad smartphones aren't supported.This is a nice offer from Verizon, to be sure, but it falls a little short. A large number of Verizon's broadband customers (both FiOS and other high-speed Internet services) can now access Verizon's hot spots around the country.

According to Verizon, its hot spots can be found in hotels, airports, restaurants, coffee shops, retailers, convention centers and public locations. (Full list available here.) A basic search on Verizon's Web site turned up 13,850 locations. Not bad, right?

Well, except if you want to use Verizon's free Wi-Fi on a smartphone or any Apple product (iPhone, iPod, MacBook).

You see, in order to connect, Verizon requires users to download and install a piece of software, and that software only works with Windows XP and Windows Vista machines (no word on Windows 7). In others words, if you're an Apple computer user, no dice for you. Furthermore, you can't use Wi-Fi equipped smartphones, either -- even ones that are sold by Verizon Wireless.

As a user of Apple PCs and other Wi-Fi-equipped devices, those two limitations make the new offering worthless to me. I am sure a great many other Verizon FiOS or other high-speed Internet customers would also like to access free Wi-Fi from their smartphones. It's a shame that Verizon won't play ball.

In comparison, AT&T offers its iPhone and BlackBerry customers free access to its Wi-Fi hot spots all over the country.

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