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Virgin Media Planning Free Wi-Fi For All

David Gilbert by

Virgin Media Planning Free Wi-Fi For All

Virgin Media is hoping to make the dream of free public Wi-Fi for all a reality in London.

The company is in “quite advanced negotiations” with London councils and it is hopeful that rollout would begin in the “not too distant future.” The plan will be a direct competitor to BT’s Openzone and The Cloud, both of which offer widespread Wi-Fi coverage within London.

However, unlike Openzone and The Cloud, Virgin Media’s plan is to make the service available to everyone, however its own broadband customers will benefit from superior speeds. Anyone will be able to access the network at speeds up to 0.5Mbps while subscribers will have access to 10Mbps speeds - all for free.

Virgin Media Free Wifi Neil Berkett

Speaking about the project this week, Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett described the plans as a “punt” costing the company a few million pounds. He added that he hoped Virgin Media’s entrance into the market would keep his competitors honest.

Currently BT Openzone is free to its broadband subscribers but can cost up to £5.99 for 90 minutes for others. The Cloud wireless networks are also available for free to some O2 customers, but again cost a lot for everyone else.

In order to roll out this network, Virgin Media will install Wi-Fi routers in its street-side cabinets and talks with the various councils around London centre on allowing this work to be carried out.

Berkett also said that consumers’ data needs were not being met by the current 3G network and with an expected delay before 4G devices and networks are available on this side of the Atlantic, this could fill the gap. Virgin Media might also wholesale the faster level of access to mobile networks.

Source: The Telegraph

Go to comments

A Scotland

August 3, 2011, 5:03 pm

If BTOpenzone is anything to go by then this will just be more unwanted wifi pollution. The amount of times my iPhone connects automatically to BTOpenzone only to find that it does not work or is far slower than 3G.

If companies are going to "take a punt" then they should put proper investment into the project rather than taking credit for what is really nothing more than free advertising.


August 3, 2011, 5:39 pm

I completely agree with this sentiment! Every time I've been out somewhere and gone "ooo free wifi" it has been pretty soon followed up with "bah screw that" and gone back to 3G/HSPA because it was faster.


August 4, 2011, 1:31 am

I don't know how The Cloud and BTOpenzone get away with pasting 'Free Wifi' in pubs/bars etc when it clearly isn't free, even if you are a BT subscriber you are paying for the wifi service as part of you broadband and the same goes with O2 you have to have the WIFI option to get on the Cloud. Me not being on either means i cannot get so called 'Free Wifi' it's clearly false advertising.

In Slovakia it's a different story, you can walk through the town and hop on and off free wifi as and when you want\9no login or payment required) and that includes people who are roaming!!

On another note Trusted, what is going on with your site? it took me three browsers and a requirement to allow insecure content to run before I could get the login box to appear! the spinning loading thing is annoying and it's all trying to be to fancy.


August 4, 2011, 2:37 am

If Virgin Media Business's project management is anything to go by, this will simply be one big disaster. Nothing to see here...move on.

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