This article points only to anecdotal evidence from a journalist to claim that the price of using public hot spots in the U.K. is dropping: In any developing market, service providers walk a tight rope between charging enough to cover their startup costs and failing to attract customers because of sky high prices. At the moment, the price of a subscription for Wi-Fi services is too high for most except the serious traveler, especially because there aren't yet enough hot spots. Hopefully a greater number of hot spots will attract more customers, which will in turn lead to lower prices. Maybe that's already starting to happen in the U.K.
Interestingly, this intrepid traveler rants about how insanely high the cost of Wi-Fi is in Europe. He visited nine cities in the U.S. and had Wi-Fi access in eight. Just one of those charged a mere $9 a day for access. He then stayed in seven hotels in Europe and one offered Wi-Fi, for $60 a day and it never worked. Two of the hotels in Europe didn't have phones so no Internet connection was available from the room.
To be fair, this traveler doesn't mention which cities he stayed in so maybe he was pretty far off the beaten path. Still, I've stayed in decent hotels in Europe that have these ancient phone systems through which you can't even dial up. By contrast, just last week I took a road trip from Seattle to northern California and even cheap hotels in tiny towns at least had dial up while some had broadband wired access.
Since the wired access in European hotels is generally poor, hotel managers there might see a great opportunity in Wi-Fi. Wireless networks will be much easier for them to deploy in a building that isn’t already wired.