Free wi-fi coming to London
Two-month pilot begins today
The scheme, backed by Nokia and wi-fi service provider Spectrum Interactive, is the first of its type in the UK that's aiming to make it easier for people to access online services on the move and completely for free.
Internet access will be initially available at 26 street hotspots from 1st November until the end of the year, to test consumer demand and browsing behaviour in the capital. The findings will then be used to determine the best locations for future hotspots, and how much bandwidth is needed to support demand.
Hotspots will be installed in streetside phone boxes in areas including Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, Knightsbridge, Westminster and Marylebone, and will support access speeds of up to 20Mbps.
If the trial is successful, the plan is for a larger scale roll out across all of London in early 2012.
We spoke to Ernest Doku, tech expert at uSwitch.com, who seemed positive about the scheme.
"To bring free, easy-to-access wireless connectivity to the capital has long been the wish of many, and is a shrewd move to get Nokia back on everyone’s lips for more than a range of new mobiles," he said.
"With our own StreetStats 3G data showing that mobile coverage in the centre of London is still very prone to ‘notspots’ when it comes to data services, the offer of a fast, always-on connection for browsing, email and even downloading content at speeds of 1Mbps sounds almost too good to be true.
"Whilst only a two-month trial and covering a narrow band of the city, the wealth of data that both Nokia and Spectrum can gather may well put them in a strong position to make the dream of London-wide wi-fi in time for the Olympics a reality."
What do you think to the scheme? Would you use it if it came to your hometown? Leave us your thoughts below.
"Free" is a good start to get a consumer (potential revenue customer) into using a product. In this case Free Wi-Fi, chances of Nokia or Whoever giving it free is possible provided that they get more than free in return. For Nokia this could another platform for Adverts (revenue), Government Notices, Security Alerts to public, Road or Congestion Information, London Tube Live Data Stream, Video or TV on Demand etc.
Today almost all our devices and gadgets etc have built-in Wi-Fi and imagine connecting these gadgets to free always-on Wi-Fi - it will be amazing! you can stay in touch with your friends and families and work-folks in realtime! I am surprised why BT did not come-up with this initiative! Well there is nothing free from BT!
sounds good... but there will be a catch.... there always is.
This is another free trial in a big city that has good broadband speeds .why not try this in a village like the one i live in. we are lucky to get 0.3meg but BT abd other companys dont seem intrested in us,even cable byepassed us,the goverment says that every one should get braodband but not us in need only those how have a good connection allready.
Oh boy, would i use definitely, I think it,s a great idea, but i don't,t know whether the broadband providers would like it, but how long would it stay free for before they start charging.
This may just be a plan for fast and free internet service for the duration of the 2112 Olympics in London and not a plan that is likely to be rolled out across the UK.
To date the history of internet service in the UK has been a bit of a "mixed bag", "postcode lottery", "population based " , and "whatever" affair.
Security is the big issue here. Anyone and everyone must be made aware of its importance and how to protect themselves correctly or face the consequences and i'm sure that Nokia and Spectrum will be gathering more than just data for their London dream.
Tottenham Court Toad??? Now which area in London is that please???
Check Spelling!! Check Spelling!! Check Spelling!!
love to use it, always starts in London, get rid of my landline then
Hackers and crackers (not to mention The Sun newspaper! ), are going to have a field day with this!
How many people out there will have any sort of firewall installed on their gizmos, not to mention antivirus protection?
I'd definitely use it, it's about time someone took the bull by the horns and provided this service for free and it should be made made permanent.