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Norfolk, Norwich Company develops a WiFi HotSpot Solution that ensures venues comply with all relevant laws.

Press release July 19, 2010 Tourism

CANDENGO Wireless Networks have launched the UK’s lowest cost, legally complaint WiFi HotSpot solution which complies with all aspects of the Digital Economy Bil 2010, Data Retention (EC Directive) Regulations 2009, Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

On June 8th , 2010 a new law came into effect that affects every Bed & Breakfast, Hotel, Coffee shop and Campsite in the UK. In fact , anywhere that shares or makes available a WiFi connection or hotspot, whether open or secure, paid for or free, has to conform to the Digital Economy Bill. 

In November 2009, a pub landlord was successfully sued for £8000 because one of his customers had been using the free WiFi service available within the premises to download copyrighted material.

This new law places the responsibility firmly in the hands of the operator.  Those offering WiFi hotspots are responsible for any and all internet and wireless traffic that passes through their connection.  Firewalls and Virus checkers are no help here, as it is content or, more accurately, illegal, pornographic or copyright material that users could be downloading unbeknown to the operator.

Many establishments realise that offering free WiFi is a low cost way to add a new facility and attract more customers. Many B&Bs already have WiFi installed, so it seems to be a smart move to simply enable their customers to use it to. 

However, according to Mr Riches from Candengo Hotspots, “Whilst providing a free or paid for WiFi service has clear benefits, it is extremely difficult for business owners to stop or monitor someone illegally download content.  Many WiFi hotspot operators believe that by displaying a terms and conditions policy warning users that it is illegal to download copyrighted material, will provide suitable protection.  However the new law is clear and that will no longer protect operators from being sued.”

The new regulations state that all traffic and user information must be logged and stored by the operator for 12 months. Major high street retail chains are likely to be unaffected as they will use a service provider such as The Cloud, or BT Openzone and these ISPs will have to shoulder the burden, although the extra costs will no doubt be passed onto the owner. For family run pubs, B&Bs, hotel chains and caravan sites offering customers a WiFi hotspot via a standard internet connection could, in fact land them with an unexpected and costly fine.

It is important that businesses already offering or considering installing a WiFi service, seek advice from businesses that specialise in this area.

“At Candengo, we are happy to discuss with clients what they are trying to achieve and how we can protect them against falling foul of this new law.  ” added Mr Riches.

The Candengo HotSpot solution simply plug into an existing broadband router and takes over all roles relating to shared WiFi.  The system is monitored 24/7. performs all content filtering and access logging, and works on both free and paid provision