Virgin Media deploys underground Wi-Fi in UK pilot

In a UK pilot project designed to provide free broadband to residents, Virgin Media has teamed up with the Chiltern District Council to not only provide Wi-Fi on street "furniture" like lamp posts, but also to build it into the pavement in Chesham, Buckinghamshire.

The new network can provide speeds of up to 166 Mbps, seven times the average UK broadband speed, according to Virgin, and will be delivered using connectivity directly from Virgin Media's street cabinets and what they're calling the UK's first-ever "Smart Pavement."

Virgin has installed wireless routers underneath specialized manhole covers, where they can be wired into its core network directly. Users are able to connect by selecting Virgin Media WiFi within the Wi-Fi settings on their device. Virgin Media mobile customers with an Android device will be able access it seamlessly through the Virgin Media WiFi Buddy app. The gear that is being placed under the street covers include rainproof access points that use a mixture of technology, including fiber optic cabling and DOCSIS 3. Article