Where's my WiFi?

What is the deal with the WiFi drought we appear to be experiencing in the UK?

The one thing notably missing from the otherwise excellent Adobe Live was free WiFi at Olympia 2. In its place, a company called eForce (watch out for gangs of stray apostrophes on that page) was charging around £300 for a WiFi connection. How is this in any way justified and how much are daylight-robbery tactics like this hurting (and holding back) the tech industry in the UK? What a short-sighted practice on the part of Olympia and other venues that perpetuate such practices.

I was personally forced to use my 3G card (which mostly got GPRS reception at Olympia) just to process sign-ups for the London MMUG.

It was the ultimate irony that I got my first free WiFi connection after Olympia at a quaint little Indian cafe/restaurant called Tantra in Clapham Junction.

Bad Olympia. Naughty. But you're not the only one.

Here in Brighton, we have a new public library that has won architecture awards right and left and yet, when I wanted to hold a one-day conference there last year, I was shocked to learn that they didn't have WiFi. In fact, they wouldn't even let us set it up ourselves due to "security concerns." Oh, yeah, Osama lives in my wireless router, baby. Sing it with me! Dumb, plain dumb.

Then again, things are definitely not all gloom and doom: In Brighton we have free wireless access on the beach between the piers (Pier2Pier) and my local pub is a lovely place to relax with a nice cup of tea, a vegetarian sausage sandwich (ooh, they're good) and the Internet at your fingertips. LooseConnection has wired up a large number of joints for WiFi and has a list of haunts with free WiFi in Brighton.