Boris Johnson wants street fixtures such as bus shelters and lamp posts in London to double up as free public Wi-Fi hotspots. The announcement comes as the Mayor's office looks at the key infrastructural challenges the capital faces as it is set to exceed record population numbers in the coming months.
The 2050 London Infrastructure Plan highlights which services in the capital will be most strained by the middle of the century, when London population numbers are expected to exceed 11 million. Underground journeys are expected to increase by 50 per cent, and rail journeys by 80 per cent. 600 new schools will be needed along with 50,000 new homes a year, while the need for an expansion of Heathrow airport is again stressed.
With London's digital economy growing, the report also sees broadband access now "considered a fourth utility" by the Mayor's office, with a "city wide connectivity mapping exercise" recommended to ensure London remains a global digital leader.
“This plan is a real wake up call to the stark needs that face London over the next half century," said Johnson in a statement.
"Infrastructure underpins everything we do and we all use it every day. Without a long term plan for investment and the political will to implement it this city will falter. Londoners need to know they will get the homes, water, energy, schools, transport, digital connectivity and better quality of life that they expect.”
This isn't the first time the Mayor's office has spoke of introducing connected bus shelters. Back in 2010 Boris pledged to bring Wi-Fi to every bus stop and lamp post in London, an ambitious goal that's (unsurprisingly) failed to materialise, and a goal that was revised in 2011 with the aim of just bringing all of London's buses online. That too has yet to become a reality, so perhaps don't hold your breath on Boris's latest pledge -- though that 2050 date goal gives him (and his inevitable successors) plenty of time to sort it out. [London.gov.uk]