Since I wrote about my change of heart and subsequent purchase of an iPod touch, I have signed up to the Wi-Fi hotspot service provided in the U.K. by The Cloud.
At £3.99 a month, with no contract to tie me in, I thought I would road test the service. Cambridge currently has 38 Cloud hotspots listed for the city centre, so the prospect of being able to connect looked favorable.
Using the service is supposed to be as simple as possible. By registering the MAC address of your iPod touch when signing up for the “Cloud Unlimited (Music)” package, you should be able to connect to the service when in range of a hotspot with no further need to sign in—“no tricky usernames or passwords to remember,” states The Cloud. The only ‘work’ I had to do to be able to surf the net was to check the list of available Wi-Fi networks detected by the touch.
I have managed to use the touch at U.K. airports where The Cloud provides hotspots, and I discovered a hotspot in the Cambridge-area mall near the O2 store—the same mall where the new Apple store is going to be located. There is a hotspot in the pub next door to Borders which is actually accessible from inside Borders, handy for checking on who-wrote-what. All fine and dandy.
That is, until last week. Trying to access the ‘net from inside Borders brought up a log in screen. Unusual I thought; maybe the pub had changed its Wi-Fi settings. I went through the login process to be told my username or password was incorrect. Several attempts to log in failed. I was able to submit a report via the login page and I decided to try one of the other hotspots I knew worked previously.
Same error, again.
After getting an email response from the support department, I was assured that they are working on resolving the problem, and that I would be able to use the service. Three days passed. So, I sent more emails to report the problems. And received more emails claiming the problem was resolved.
Any prospect of my remaining on this service has been ‘clouded’ by the recent connection problems: my iPod touch has just become an iPod again. For the occasional times I have used it, before these recent issues, Wi-Fi has been worth the 13p or so a day it cost. Perhaps this is just some rough weather that The Cloud is going through. I’ll see if I am offered some form of compensation for these days of lost usage.
Has any other U.K. reader has been having these issues? I’d like to hear from you in the comments. And before anyone suggests it, I’m still not going buying an iPhone.