Residents and visitors to certain parts of London will benefit from access to Europe’s largest free Wi-Fi zone thanks to a deal struck between Westminster City Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and network operator, O2.
The deal won’t cost the councils or the taxpayer a penny according to a statement from O2 announcing the deal and should ensure that residents as well as visitors “have the best experience possible and can make the most of what London has to offer” and with the Olympics on the horizon the deal is very timely.
Free Wi-Fi access will be available throughout Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea once the Metro wireless network is installed on the street furniture. It will initially be rolled out in a limited number of areas and then throughout the boroughs over the longer term. O2 will begin installing the network in January 2012.
Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer for O2 said, “This ground-breaking deal - the first of its kind in the UK - will see us deliver high quality connectivity across London in time for London 2012. Our longer-term aim is to expand our footprint of O2 Wifi, which is open to everyone, and also intelligently enhance our services at street level, where people need the network the most.”
The quality of the Wi-Fi network won’t really be known until it is up and running, but anything that can take some of the strain off the under-pressure 3G network will be a welcome addition.