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Sky announces free Wi-Fi hotspots with The Cloud

Unlimited, auto-connecting internet access at thousands of locations

Sky has announced that thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots will be available for free starting mid-April.

The firm said at a briefing this morning in London that its unlimited broadband customers will gain unlimited free access to high-speed Wi-Fi. At launch there will be 10,000 hotspots across the country which will be powered by The Cloud, which Sky acquired in February last year.

The news comes a day after McDonald's announced it is switching its Wi-Fi provider from The Cloud to O2.

Lyssa McGowan, director of communications products at Sky said the move is the "logical next step for Sky" in order to meet a big need that exists in the market. She said that 66 percent of traffic is expected to be video by 2014 and that the firm expects customers to use Sky Go via the hotspots.

The Wi-Fi hotspots from The Cloud will also be available to non-Sky customers but subject to charges or time limits depending on the venue.  The Cloud has Wi-Fi hotspots at locations including Pizza Express, EAT and JD Wetherspoons.

Sky said it is adding to the list of The Cloud partners and expects more retail names in the future as more shoppers use the internet while on a spending spree.

Sky's eleventh app, Sky Cloud Wi-Fi, will accompany the service at launch on iPhone, iPad and Android with Windows Phone to follow. The app will automatically connect the device to a hotspot whenever one is available. However, this feature is only available to Sky customers.

The app can also be used to locate available hotspots on a map and get directions to them. Using a Sky ID, customers can register up to six devices to use with the Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Cloud announced that it has secured a contract to make King's Cross London's largest outdoor free Wi-Fi zone. It is also adding seven stations in conjunction with Network Rail including Euston and upgrading its existing nine stations.

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