Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
This document is designed to answer common questions that HotSpot Operators (business owners) may have regarding our programme.
Service, Support and Warranty
1. Installation Issues
What type of broadband service should I have?
Although it is best to have 4Mbps down/1Mbps up, we recommend at least 2Mbps down and 512Kbps up, If sufficient bandwidth is not available, then you should upgrade your broadband service plan (from your ISP) or you should order an additional broadband connection. Be sure to get the “always on” service, and one that is “flat rate” and not variable.
You provide a router and firmware, but what if I require more than one wireless access point, or more cabling or other equipment than is listed on the Equipment List?
free-hotspot.com provides the basic HotSpot Equipment (i.e., wireless Gateway and software) at no charge. However, if you require additional equipment such as access points (APs), firewall or other material, you will be charged extra at a price to be determined based on your particular needs.
Why shouldn’t I just install my own router and offer FREE Wi-Fi to my customers?
If you install your own HotSpot you will not have the benefits of a free-hotspot.com FREE HotSpot:
- Compliance with EU and local laws regarding data logging
- Blocking of illegal P2P downloading of copyrighted material (via our Pirate Blocker)
- Full support including warranty replacement and maintenance service
- Technical upgrades to accommodate new devices and trends (such as Wi-Fi phones, tablets,.cameras, gamers, etc.)
- Support Hotline for your customers
- Online directory listing to attract more customers
- Worldwide promotion online, in print and media
- In-store signs and promotions
- Ability to advertise and communicate to your customers and others using your HotSpot
Once my HotSpot is installed, how long does it take for my location to be listed online?
Your location will appear in our online Directory – and our partners’ directories – within 48 hours after your installation is complete.
2. Security Issues
I use my broadband connection for my business. Will it be safe to use the same connection for the FREE HotSpot?
Our HotSpot Installation Partner can install additional hardware (a firewall) to protect your own PC or network from the public Wi-Fi signal. This additional hardware usually costs from €50 to €200, depending on your security needs. You will also need to pay for any additional labour needed to install the device (your Installer will give you a price for this work).
In cases where security is a big concern, however, we recommend installing an additional broadband line specifically for the FREE HotSpot. This is the most secure solution and also has the added benefit of ensuring you always have enough bandwidth for your own staff to access the Internet quickly.
What about my customers? Will they be safe from hackers, viruses, etc.?
The people who use your FREE HotSpot will be just as safe – and just as vulnerable – as if they were accessing the Internet from home. It is up to each user to have their own anti-virus, anti-spyware and firewall software. We do not provide them for liability reasons. However, such programmes are now universal (even Windows XP comes standard with these features), and Wi-Fi users know that they should be careful when accessing the Internet. You are also protected from liability, as once the user accepts the Terms of Service, they accept full responsibility and agree not to hold you responsible for anything that may happen to them while using the FREE HotSpot.
Does the free-hotspot.com system comply with all the EU and local laws requiring Wi-Fi providers to maintain logs and track user traffic?
The EU Data Retention Directive (EU DRD) of 2006 is a comprehensive directive to ensure that ISPs and other Internet access providers maintain suitable records and have “traceability” built in to their system. The Directive is designed to help combat terrorism, fraud and online crimes. Free-hotspot.com’s sophisticated back-end system allows us to meet or exceed the requirements of the EU directive as well as local laws in each EU member country.
Does free-hotspot.com protect me from liability and block illegal downloads?
All free-hotspot.com SILVER, GOLD and PLATINUM level HotSpot Packages include our Pirate Blocker solution, which blocks illegal P2P downloading (pirating) of copyrighted material such as films, music and software. If you have a free-hotspot.com "basic" package, then you will need to upgrade in order to get the Pirate Blocker. Contact us to find out more.
3. Service, Support and Warranty
Who pays for the repair work if my HotSpot Equipment stops working?
We offer a “no questions asked” Warranty with all our HotSpot Marketing Packages. This means that if the HotSpot Equipment, specifically the wireless gateway with our HotSpot software loaded on it, should fail for any reason, we will replace it at no charge to you.
How long does the Warranty last?
Our “router repair or replacement” Warranty policy lasts as long as your HotSpot Operator Agreement is in force.
4. Advertising Programme
What types of advertisements will my customers see? Will they be pop-ups?
We do not serve pop-up ads! Our adverts are carefully designed and produced in a way that does not interrupt or annoy the user.
The first type of advert that the user will see is an introductory commercial that appears after the Terms Of Service have been accepted and before the user starts surfing or otherwise using the Internet. This advert can be a film clip, an interactive puzzle or game, or any other rich-media based “spot” that can last 10-20 seconds. This is the only advert that the user is obliged to watch. It is also where we earn most of our advertising revenue.
The second type of advert is what we call a “Shutter Ad” which appears inside of the Session Manager application. The Session Manager appears on the lower right hand side of the user’s browser, and alerts the user to how much time he/she has left in their free Internet session. The user can easily click to close the Session Manager if they do not want to have the countdown displayed.
Will I be able to advertise myself on my FREE HotSpot?
Thanks to our HotSpot Marketing Packages, you will have the ability to advertise on your own HotSpot. You will be able to have a customised Welcome Page and your customers will all be redirected to your own web site when they first access the Internet. If you do not have a web site, we will provide a customisable Landing Page for you, which you can change as often as you like.
5. Technical Support
Do you offer technical support in my local language?
The Hotline offers tech support in English as well as the local languages for all countries in which we operate.
How do my customers access the technical support Hotline?
To access our Hotline, we offer users an International FreePhone number as well as local access numbers that can be called from mobile phones. NOTE: To find out the FreePhone access rules for your country, please consult the index at the end of this document.
6. User Issues
How can I keep non-customers (such as people living above or sitting in other shops nearby) from “stealing” my Wi-Fi?
First, one cannot “steal” something that is offered for free. The FREE HotSpot philosophy means that anyone can use the FREE Wi-Fi signal if they accept our Terms of Service. Regardless of where the user is sitting, however, they will still see adverts, and you will still share in the revenue from these adverts.
Secondly, this is also a way to advertise your establishment in the neighbourhood: You will have a “Welcome” page and Landing Page that every user will see when they first access the HotSpot. These pages are customisable and you can advertise your location, your specials, etc.
What if I want to limit access only to my customers or my hotel guests?
We offer Scratch Cards that can be used to limit access only to certain persons. Each Scratch Card has a unique access code that the user will need to enter in the Welcome Page in order to access the Internet. Yu can purchase these Scratch Cards at the rate of €200 per 1000, and then you can hand them out to those people whom you wish to grant access.
What if a person comes in and sits all day at a table surfing?
The problem of people “lingering” using Wi-Fi is one that is more common in PAID HotSpot schemes. If a person pays for 1 hour or 3 hours or even 24 hours of access, they will naturally want to sit and get their money’s worth. As our HotSpots are FREE, however, there can be no right assumed by the customer for prolonged access.
In our case, using the FREE HotSpot is like reading a book, watching television, or pursuing any other leisure activity in your establishment. It is perfectly acceptable to ask a customer to leave after a certain time if they are not consuming. They have not, after all, paid anything to get their Internet access (just like they don’t pay to watch your television), and they are always welcome to return the next time they want to purchase your goods and services.
Our own usage analysis and case studies in restaurants and cafes indicate that the average user session length in non-hotel locations is only 23 minutes; so prolonged usage is generally not a problem in a FREE HotSpot.
My restaurant is very busy at lunch time. Is there a way I can prevent people from using the Wi-Fi during the peak hours?
Our system offers you the option to set the Operating Hours of the Wi-Fi. If you wish, you can programme the HotSpot to go off during specific hours on certain days. If a user tries to connect during the “off” hours, they will get a message explaining that the Wi-Fi is currently not available, and listing those days and hours when they can connect.
Our own usage analysis shows that Wi-Fi usage drops during the busy lunch and dinner time, and 705 of the Wi-Fi usage takes place during the “slow” periods of the afternoon, morning and evening. Only around 10% (1-2 users per location) access the Wi-Fi during the lunch hours.