The British Library Goes Wireless
The British Library in St Pancras has just gone wireless. With wireless service through all its public spaces, including its 11 reading rooms, 225-seat auditorium, restaurant and outdoor Piazza area, it’s now the biggest wireless hotspot area in London. According to research commissioned by the Library people, 86% of visitors to the library own a laptop; the "average dwell time" in the library was 6 hours (6 hours! We thought we liked books, but that’s impressive); and 16% of the visitors only came to the library to sit down, have a coffee and use the building as a business centre (ignoramuses).
The service can be accessed using your own service provider Wi-Fi service (currently BT and The Cloud accounts), or you can buy pay-as-you-go cards for £4.50 and hour (pretty reasonably compared to the £6 you have to pay in most coffee shops). The service is being provided by The Cloud.
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But this is bizarre! There are public access Internet machines all over the library (though you can’t check email on them). And more generally why do the providers think people will be willing to pay £4.50 an hour for wireless Internet when cybercafes charge much less?