Would you use a neighbour's broadband?

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Money Saving Polls
85 replies 14.2K views


  • MSE_MartinMSE_Martin MoneySaving Expert
    8.3K Posts
    Poll Started 17 April 2007. Would you use a neighbours broadband? You're connected at home but don't have wireless access. One day your laptop detects a strong signal from a neighbours wireless router which you can access the web via. Which of these is nearest to your attitude?

    A. I'd use it happily, without telling them - 37% - (2416 Votes)
    E. I'd never use it, it's not mine, if I want wireless I'll get it - 34.6% - (2257 Votes)
    C. I'd generally avoid it, but may access quickly when needed - 17% - (1111 Votes)
    B. I'd ask them first if they minded - 6.4% - (419 Votes)
    D. I'd ask if I could pay a portion of their bill and use it - 4.8% - (314 Votes)
    Total Votes: 6518

    Thanks to everybody that voted. To discuss, click reply and post below.
    Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert.
    Please note, answers don't constitute financial advice, it is based on generalised journalistic research. Always ensure any decision is made with regards to your own individual circumstance.
    Don't miss out on urgent MoneySaving, get my weekly e-mail at www.moneysavingexpert.com/tips.
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  • gingercordialgingercordial Forumite
    1.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Name Dropper
    OK, I will admit to having done this very occasionally, but only when my own connection that I pay for has gone down and I urgently need to check e-mail. I am very aware of not using the other network's download limit and would never use it for anything more traffic-heavy than e-mail. It is a rare occurrence anyway (hopefully even more rare when we move away from bl**dy Tiscali soon).

    It is worrying that I can pick up 3 or 4 unencrypted wireless networks from my living room most days (though only one is ever strong enough to use). My own has a password on the router, MAC filters and a WPA key. When I loaded the router it walked me through setting up all of those things. Why on earth doesn't everyone do this?

    Would I mind if someone used mine? No... if I knew they were not going to download anything dodgy, which is why mine is protected... but in principle I would not mind sharing my (unlimited) connection with others since I would be paying for it regardless of my own usage.
  • stevo25stevo25 Forumite
    59 Posts
    surely it should be illegal not to secure your wifi netwok?? i'm sure i have read this is the case in germany. and what do you all think of fon? look @ fon.com
    be happy!
  • kramiikramii Forumite
    13 Posts
    raymond wrote: »
    So you are watching TV and a neighbour notices your back door is open and he pops in and uses your toilet and drinks your water then thats Ok is it ?
    raymond wrote: »
    Theivin gits

    No, that's trespass.

    So, you're sitting in your front room at night with the lights on and the curtains open. A passer-by uses the light from your window to check his watch.

    So, that's thieving is it?

    Technically, it might be. But practically, would anyone mind? I don't think so.

    So, what is the difference between this and someone using an open wifi conntection to check their email?
  • fififofumfififofum Forumite
    150 Posts
    in answer to original post. no i wouldnt as its stealing. i have a work connection which is wired.
    are you sitting comfortably?, then I'll begin.....
    was at 01/01/07 now 03/07/07

    overdraft was 1500 now 1360 must try harder.

    loan was 13705.24 now 9791.62 due to be paid off 01/02/2011 but gonna aim for 01/05/2009!!

    amex cc was 4210 now 3650.48 lobt at 4.9% due to be paid off in 01/02/08
    total owed was £19415.24 now its £14802.10 going down!!!:money:
    I am proud to be dealing with my debt!
    just one day at a time, dont take on ANY NEW debt.
  • mouseclickmouseclick Forumite
    231 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    I have a fon wireless router which allows sharing, see https://www.fon.com. When my friends come around they can use it, and even if they are not on the fon network I can give them a user name and password to access the unsecured part of my network.

    Being a fon "linus" means I can access other fon access points around the world, legally.

    People should secure their wireless networks, but most don't. That's the reality, as it is now. My view on "borrowing" broadband? I pay for the electricity to make my light work. If I leave my windows open and someone reads a newspaper in the street using my light, well so what. And if I have an outside light with a switch, or a motion sensor, well that's my lookout.

    The neigbour's car analogy? Not accurate. Whey you borrow their car they are denied use of it, but with broadband this is not the case. They probably won't even notice.

    My view is that the police have publicised the recent scare stories because the powers that be are worried about people accessing the web anonymously, so they want to make an example of someone on TV and in all the papers to frighten everyone. They don't give a damn about someone paying an extra £1.50 on top of their monthly broadband bill because some passer by used their wireless network to make a skype phone call.

    To sort this mess out it would be best to educate people how to set up security, or have a technology or code of conduct that would prevent wireless routers being sold with no security set up by default.

    Perhaps some blame should also be laid at the feet of people who run unsecured wireless access points, after all, it is illegal to provide a place for people to smoke / take drugs, so why not the same for technology? Should people be required to be licensed to operate a wireless broadband network? You need a license to operate a ships radio responsibly, and CB radio, so why not broadband?

    But as a note of caution, I suspect that any attempts to clamp down on this by legislation, prosecutions etc will not inconvenience real criminals who know how to get around these things, it will only affect joe public.

    What I hate is an innocent practice of sharing being criminalized because government ministers are having a knee jerk reaction about child !!!!!! or terrorism. Then they want to BLAME someone.

    Well, that's my two penn'orth!
  • mouseclickmouseclick Forumite
    231 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    albertross wrote: »
    If you use someone else's unencrypted network, you are exposing yourself to being hacked. Everything you do is unencrypted for all to see. Your files may be accessible by them, your passwords/websites/emails will be passing over the airwaves unencrypted. If they have a worm on their PC, you will probably catch it just by connecting to their network.

    So if you think they are stupid for leaving it open, you are just as stupid for using it.

    PS Mac address filtering and ssid unbroadcasting isn't security.

    Not so, I know what I am doing, have a strong firewall, and I am pretty savvy as to what is and what is not a genuine network. I also use VPN access to perform any high security stuff.
  • daleyddaleyd Forumite
    411 Posts
    Wouldn't do it with my neighbours connection as he's a big bu**er!:D
    It's not a light at the end of the tunnel, it's a man with a torch and more jobs

    Nothing is foolproof to a sufficiently talented fool.
  • jago25_98jago25_98 Forumite
    623 Posts
    I would keep our network unpassworded. Anyone can help themselves.

    But then we have another connection spare.

    If I see an unpassworded connection that communicates to me that the owner expresses permission to use / connect.
    Order of events: Banks lose our money -> get bailed out -> were inflating GBP to cover it -> now taxing us -> next will grab your funds direct -> things get really desperate to balance the books. What should have happened?: banks go bust and we lost our money much quicker
  • mouseclickmouseclick Forumite
    231 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    If anyone wants a half price wireless router as per https://www.fon.com, I have 3 invites which will let you buy them for 20 euros instead of 39. Please READ first though, you need a wired router to plug them into. This will legalise your remote access. To be 100% legal, you should also check if your ISP is Fon friendly. I think Fon do a list. If you want one, send me an email. If you get a router, you can place your discount invites here too for other forum readers.

    As far as security is concerned while out roaming, there is a Free PC remote access product from https://secure.logmein.com/home.asp. It gets very good approvals. Logmein have just bought Hamachi, see http://www.hamachi.cc/ and praise for it at http://www.grc.com/sn/SN-018.htm.

    So it is possible to roam securely, freely and legally. In fact I will be testing this very setup with my laptop in Benidorm in just over a weeks time. I have already tried it from a fon router 2 blocks away, so it should work!

    Oh and thanks to Martin for the tip on Ryanair £10 each way flights to Alicante, making it a very cheap break!
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