Following a trial at Charing Cross station which began last October, London Underground (LU) has now decided to roll out WiFi to 120 Tube stations.
The plans could see the wireless network rolled out in time for the 2012 Olympic games with companies seeking to install the network now being invited to tender for the job. "The roll out will finally allow Londoners to use mobile devices to pick up their e-mails and stay in touch with the world while they traverse our subterranean network. We are inviting companies to bid before next June, which would mean Londoners underground will be able to keep up to date with the British medal tally at the 2012 Games," Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said.
Last month we saw Huawei offer to install a mobile phone network on some of the Underground lines, things have gone pretty quiet in relation to the project since. Following the announcement Will Geddes, founder of ICP Group which specialises in reducing terror or technology-related threats told the BBC that he felt the this move could aid terrorists: “There are lots of implications in terms of terrorism and security. This will enable people to use their laptop on the Tube as if it was a cell phone." He cited numerous situations in Afghanistan where bombs had been detonated remotely via mobile phone.
However a Transport for London spokesperson responded saying: “Access to mobile and data networks is already common on many world metros and our customers tell us they would welcome this. The majority of the Underground is actually above ground where customers can already use mobile and data services. LU has tried and tested procedures in place to deal with unattended items on the Tube."
The possibility of constant access to a mobile signal while on the Underground for some is the stuff of nightmares while others would welcome the ability to stay connected. Do you think WiFi at the Tube stations will be a bonus or will the whole thing crash at rush hour anyway?