The Cloud Wi-Fi goes free at selected railway stations thanks to Microsoft sponsorship
Microsoft puts up the cash for unlimited internet access for a month, in order to push its Office 365 cloud-based productivity suite
Microsoft has teamed up with public Wi-Fi provider The Cloud to offer unlimited free Wi-Fi access at selected railway stations across the UK.
Designed for use with smartphones, tablets and laptops - with no restrictions on how much data you can transfer, or how long you can stay connected to the service - the service will upgrade existing The Cloud hotspots which currently allow passengers to enjoy 15 minutes of free internet access before being asked for payment or log-in details.
The removal of the time limit for The Cloud hotspots is being sponsored by Microsoft as part of its efforts to push the Office 365 cloud-based productivity suite. To help the company get its money's worth, Microsoft will be provided with a prominent button on The Cloud's Content Portal - the first screen users see after connecting to the hot-spot - which provides users with information on the Office 365 product when clicked.
"This campaign is designed to help commuters tap into new ways of working. The mobile workforce is constantly growing and, as such, so is the need to access mobile internet," Phillipa Snare, chief marketing officer at Microsoft's UK division, said of the deal. "Having free Wi-Fi available is key to this because it enables people to get online quickly and easily as they travel. Simply put, our aim in sponsoring unlimited free Wi-Fi is to ensure users are able to work from anywhere – in the office, at home and in between."
The free access is to run until the 24th of April, after which the hot-spots will return to offering only 15 minutes of free access per customer. While the advertising will appear on The Cloud pages served from hot-spots at First Great Western, London Overground and Greater Anglia stations, the company has so far not provided a list of which sites will actually be getting the free access - save for claiming it will cover "selected Network Rail stations."
Vince Russell, The Cloud's managing director, said "In sponsoring free WiFi at these stations, Microsoft is supporting the modern, mobile worker and ultimately helping boost productivity in UK businesses."