BT to blanket UK cities with WiFi

A new project announced by BT will fit street furniture such as phone boxes, bus stops, and park benches with WiFi antenna to extend the coverage of wireless Internet access. Cardiff and Westminster have been testing the new service which allows users with WiFi-enabled gadgets to access the Internet using a pay-as-you-go service or an ongoing subscription. The trial is currently in its final stages, and BT says that the first six WiFi-enabled cities will go live by the start of 2007.

Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Cardiff and Westminster have already signed on to the deal, and BT is set to announce deals with another six. "This first phase of 12 cities is just the start," said Steve Andrews, BT's head of converged communications services in a statement. "We are already negotiating with many other cities." Currently, WiFi users are restricted to structures such as WiFi-enabled bars, cafés and facilities such as train stations or hotel lobbies. BT predicts that the extension of WiFi availability will spawn new products and innovations utilizing the technology.

For more on BT WiFi plans:
- see this M&C Tech report

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