London’s set to get Europe’s largest free Wi-Fi zone with a partnership between O2, Westminister and Kensington and Chelsea Borough Councils. The deal will mean the entire boroughs will be blanketed with free Wi-Fi access with the “Metro” network infrastructure attached to lampposts and other “street furniture”.
We heard rumours about the possibility of free Wi-Fi across Westminster before Christmas, but now the deal is done. O2’s looking to expand its free Wi-Fi out into other cities across the country, but London is the obvious starting point with the Olympics just around the corner.
“This ground-breaking deal - the first of its kind in the UK - will see us deliver high quality connectivity across London in time for London 2012. Our longer-term aim is to expand our footprint of O2 Wifi, which is open to everyone, and also intelligently enhance our services at street level, where people need the network the most,” said Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer for O2.
How “high quality” this network will really be, who knows. But it can’t be much worse than the poor data rates of the congested 3G networks in and around central London. Wi-Fi will have to do while we wait for 4G, and if it’s free, you can’t really complain can you? Roll on free ubiquitous Wi-Fi – I want my streaming iPlayer out-and-about to resemble people not obfuscated blocks.
Image credit: Wi-Fi hotspot from Shutterstock