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BT  has unveiled a new router for home broadband customers, combining the ‘UK’s most powerful Wi-Fi’ signal' with proactive smart technology to help optimise customers’ connections.
Dubbed the Smart Hub, the router features seven antennas, which is more than any other UK provider, for what BT is touting as ‘unbeatable wireless range’. According to BT, in tests when the signal was asked to pass through one wall users could get online with a tablet up to 350 metres away and with a laptop from 500 metres away.
 
It’s also home to AC Wi-Fi tech to better handle the demands of multiple broadband users and internet-connected gadgets around the home, as well as Advanced Interference Filters that cut out interference from other devices such as microwave ovens, baby monitors and cordless phones.
In a significant step up from BT's last-generation Home Hub 5 router, the Smart Hub features SmartScan technology. This actively monitors Wi-Fi performance and current usage and automatically makes changes to cut out interference and improve the quality of the connection.
The Smart Hub’s standard contract-free retail price is £129.99, but it's free to new BT Infinity customers as well as existing Infinity customers if they re-contract.
In the event Infinity customers don’t want to renew their contract, BT is currently offering the Smart Hub for a one-off charge of £50 with an introductory, time-limited promotion. New and existing BT customers who sign up to its standard copper broadband service are also being offered the Smart Hub for £50 as part of the same promotion.
Unlike earlier BT routers, the Smart Hub dispenses with a complex colour-coded system of various lights on the front that were intended to enable customers to discern the status of their connection and help them diagnose the reason why it was down. Instead the Smart Hub features a single light with a simplified diagnostic system to indicate connection status. The light can be turned off entirely or dimmed if wanted.
 
According to Andy Kirkpatrick, general manager of Connected Homes for Consumer at BT, the simplified system is in response to feedback from subscribers. “A lot of competitors’ hubs and our earlier hubs had an array of lights at the front. There was a light for broadband and a light for several different things. But customers’ said 'Look, we don’t know what your lights mean. We don’t know what the symbols mean’. And one of the things we’ve carried forward with this hub from our previous hubs is a very simple system where the light will reflect above and below the band and it’ll be blue when it’s on.”
 

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BT as defended receiving £1.7 billion of taxpayers' money to roll out broadband in rural locations.
The provider was given the subsidy to help fund its rollout of 24Mbps broadband across remote parts of Britain.
Nearly one in three homes have signed up for fast broadband, far more than the amount that had originally been calculated and used to determine the size of the subsidy.
BT therefore chose to return £258 million to the government.
Vodafone recently criticised the funding model on the grounds that BT has been left to decide what is and isn't commercially viable, the Telegraph reports.
However, BT has since insisted that the fact it is repaying money back to the government shows that the project has worked well.
Julian Ashworth, Director of Policy at BT, commented: "It shows that where we have success, we’re giving the money back."

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BT s to back the upcoming World Wi-Fi Day by offering providing free public Wi-Fi access for several days.
The event, which has been organised by the Wireless Broadband Alliance, is taking place for the first time on June 20th.
BT will honour the occasion by joining forces with FON and offering free public Wi-Fi access between June 22nd and July 22nd, ISPreview reports.
Alex Puregger, Chief Executive of FON, commented: "World Wi-Fi Day is an important initiative because we are all about connecting communities and giving access to people via Wi-Fi. 
"We really believe in and support closing the digital divide. To celebrate, we are working together with our partners to open up access on as many networks as we can around the world."
FON technology has been incorporated into BT HomeHub routers for some time, which means Wi-Fi connectivity is available to other BT broadband subscribers who are nearby.
The organisation has a similar arrangement with telecoms providers in countries including Australia, Greece, Belgium and the Netherlands.

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Openreach as insisted its infrastructure can cope with potential increases in minimum speed guarantees from the government.
In last month's Queen's Speech, the government confirmed it is bringing forward measures to give every UK household a legal right to a fast broadband connection.
The Digital Economy Bill states that a minimum broadband speed of 10Mbps will be guaranteed through a Broadband Universal Service Obligation (USO).
However, this minimum threshold could increase over time as demand for online services continues to rise, fuelled by trends such as more people working remotely and using streaming services.
Clive Selley, Chief Executive of Openreach, has therefore insisted it is taking a long-term view to ensure its infrastructure can accommodate any changes, SEENIT reports.
"As we design our solution for the 2020 timeframe we’ve got to be very mindful of the upgradability of it," he commented.
Indeed, he noted that during a recent trial of long-reach VDSL technology, most lines were pushed "way higher" than 10Mbps.
"I'm looking for solutions that don’t push those final few per cent [of lines] just over the 10Mbps boundary - that would be short-termist," Mr Selley said. "I'm looking for solutions that would push, either in the first instance, well above 10Mbps, or through technology innovation over time could be expected to go well above 10Mbps."
Mr Selley went on to stress that Openreach is committed to offering a better service to customers in the future and drastically cutting the number of missed appointments.
He insisted that raising service levels for customers is "absolutely key" for the organisation.

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