I’m on holiday at the moment, but the temptation to check email and Facebook is just too much for some. Where I am, there’s sadly no free roaming from the likes of Three so you either have incredibly expensive data roaming or the hunt for free Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi is plentiful, but accessing it isn’t always as easy. Although it’s advertised as “free” in various bars and restaurants, you’ll only find the password for the access point either by asking the waiter or by hunting through the menu.
On the beach I was surprised to see people with iPads and phones browsing the web. Even the lifeguards, which was a little disconcerting. Wi-Fi was here too, supplied by the local communications company and free if you had broadband with them at home. For almost all tourists, this wasn’t the case, so the only way to get on was to use a debit or credit card. The prices are cheap enough – one Euro for 30 minutes browsing is far better than your usual airport access point – but actually paying for it was difficult.
Everything was there, the secure site, the correct SSL, a padlock symbol that confirms the site is secure and trusted. All good so far. However, with most banks operating security too, after entering my debit card details it tried to redirect to Lloyds Clicksafe, which validates online payments.
This is where everything fell over, as the access point – without payment – is only set to allow certain websites to be accessed. The main splash page, which shows the prices, is one. The secure payment gateway is another, but that special bank security page isn’t on the list, so you can’t pay.
Sure, using a credit card is an option, but we don’t have one with us, so it looks like we will have to stay mostly offline, like the old days. I guess that’s no bad thing in a way.