London's City gets free WiFi; BT in talks on WiFi for 2012 Olympics

The square-mile financial centre of London--better known as the City--will be getting free WiFi coverage via the service provider The Cloud, which was bought by BSykB last week. However, the 350,000 city workers that can take advantage of this service will be limited to 15 minutes of free connection time per day.

The Cloud already offers the same service in the Scottish city of Glasgow. According to Cellular News, the managing director of The Cloud, Naunton Dickins, believes that workers in the City of London will find their smartphones work much better on WiFi than on their mobile phone network.

"No more waiting for apps to appear or photos to download, this is mobile broadband in its true sense," said Dickins "This initiative with the City of London reflects our broader ambitions to make London a fully Wi-Fi'd city."

However, a former executive and founder of The Cloud, George Polk, has stated that the UK's WiFi networks need significant investment if they are to fulfil their potential. "Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't," he told The Register. "Sometimes your login credentials work, sometimes they don't." 

Polk maintains that WiFi operators have neglected investing in the networks because of the classic chicken-and-egg dilemma. But, "we're now at a convergence point, and 2 million devices become a meaningful thing--it becomes incredibly important."

Separately, BT has said that it is involved in "sensitive discussions" with the 2012 London Olympic Games Organising Committee (LOGOC) to provide WiFi in the Olympic Park to the general public.

Stuart Hill, BT's vice president and director of the Olympic Games, said that although cabled LAN would still be available to journalists and those reporting on the events, the increased reliability of WiFi meant it could be a realistic option for the Olympic Park. The exec speculated that there will be 6 GB of information carried every second while the Games are running, the equivalent to the entire contents of Wikipedia every five seconds.

 

For more:
- see this Cellular News article
- see this The Register article
- see this Computing article

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Smartphones drive Wi-Fi hotspot growth
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