If you're itching to try out your laptop's wireless capabilities but don't want to shell out the better part of a tenner for a subscription package, then BT's Wireless Week will be right up your street.

From 26 January to 1 February anyone with a Wi-Fi-enabled laptop or PDA will be able to hook up to a BT Openzone wireless hotspot free of charge. Users simply need to register with the Openzone service to enjoy unlimited access to the web — and for once unlimited actually means without restriction.

The promotion coincides with BT's announcement earlier this week of its long-awaited pay-as-you-go wireless service. At 20p per minute it's still on the steep side, but is at least a step in the right direction. A subscription will set you back £10 a month for 120 hours or a whopping £85 a month for unlimited access.

The company has also slashed the cost of its wireless access point, Openzone-in-a-box, from £400 to £250 in a bid to encourage small and medium-sized businesses to install wireless zones.

Analysis research estimates that the number of people actively using Wi-Fi in the UK will reach 850,000 by 2005. BT already has a network of 1,700 Openzone sites throughout the UK, and aims to increase that figure to 4,000 by the end of the summer.

Related links:
BT Openzone