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Article: Widespread Wi-Fi Coming to London Underground by 2012

Widespread Wi-Fi Coming to London Underground by 2012

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Widespread Wi-Fi Coming to London Underground by 2012

 March 27, 2011 by Lauren Indvik

Nearly half of the London Underground’s 270 stations are being outfitted with Wi-Fi access ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.

London Underground commuters got their first taste of subterranean Internet access in October 2010, when a six-month test funded by U.K. broadband service BT brought Wi-Fi hotspots to the Northern and Bakerloo line platforms, as well as the ticket hall at the central London station.

The test has since been deemed “successful,” and now the London Underground is inviting telecom companies to bid for a contract that would bring Wi-Fi to 120 of London’s stations by June 2012. The winner of the contract will be announced by the end of 2011.

Users of the service will only be able to connect to Wi-Fi on the platforms, and not on the trains themselves. For the past six months, access has only been free for subscribers of BT’s broadband service with unlimited Fon Wi-Fi minutes, and for BT Openzone customers. Tesco Mobile, 02, Vodafone and Orange subscribers have also been able to access the service via bundled mobile packages.

In May 2010, London mayor Boris Johnson promised that “every lamp post [and] every bus stop will one day very soon, and before the 2012 Olympics, be Wi-Fi enabled” as part of an effort by to position London as a world leader in technological innovation.

Meanwhile, Transit Wireless LLC is working with New York City Transit to bring Wi-Fi to New York City’s subway system. Singapore, Berlin and Tokyo already offer Wi-Fi access in their respective underground metros.

Image courtesy of Flickr, paddynapper

[via ZDNet]

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