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Friday, October 29, 2010

WiFi Test on London Underground starts Monday

A six month trial of WiFi at Charing Cross station covering platforms and the ticket halls of the Northern and Bakerloo line begins this Monday 1st November. BT’s service will piggy-back onto an existing wireless network, currently used by TfL staff, which apparently makes it much cheaper to deploy.

Photo by Alexander Boden

In the trial, designed to gauge customer interest, commuters with a WiFi-enabled smartphone, laptop or other device will be able to read travel information for free. Other services require a subscription to BT’s Openzone network of WiFi hotspots, which is bundled with BT Broadband and mobile contracts with Tesco Mobile, Vodafone, O2 and Orange. More on this from Seek Broadband and TfL's site.

BT Openzone’s WiFi is already available at nine London overground stations, including Liverpool Street, Victoria and Charing Cross. The Cloud, a competitive hotspot network, also provides wireless access at several stations.

Finally we seem to be catching up with other subway networks. Mobile phone coverage works on many other underground systems including Glasgow, Beijing, Stockholm, Washington DC and Moscow. Kulveer Ranger, the mayor’s transport adviser acknowledges the demand in London and said "An ever growing commuter populous has been clamouring to be able to check their e-mails and browse the net whilst on the go".

Boris has pledged to enable wireless service across the whole Tube network in time for the Olympic Games in 2012. A TfL spokesperson said: "Given the current pressures on TfL’s budgets any solution would need to be funded through mobile operators with no cost to fare or taxpayers. Discussions are ongoing."

Hopefully the service will be put through a rigorous test at Charing Cross. It's one of London's busiest stations with passengers making 68,000 journeys every day.

For coverage elsewhere on the network, you might also be interested in our quest to find mobile phone hotspots on the Tube.

Related post: Best London Underground iPhone Apps

; Posted by Annie Mole Friday, October 29, 2010 Permalink COMMENT HERE Add to Stumble Upon