Last week we made a big deal about WiFi being offered in 120 of London’s underground stations- but that seems like small news compared to plans for free WiFi across the city… meaning Londoner’s will be able to surf the web on buses as well.
Virgin Media’s CEO Neil Berkett wants to offer “free WiFi access for all.” Currently BT’s Openzone network extensively covers London, but for non-BT customers costs 5.99 for 90 minutes of access. It will cost only “a few millions pounds,” so Virgin is willing to offer it for free.
As of this past March, the Telegraph reported that Virgin was deep into talks with London councils over such a project, which Berkett claims will fill a gap in the market for when users’ data needs exceed the capacity of the 3G network prior to migration to the 4G network.
It seems that London councils assume that increased connectivity could only be a good thing. The underground pilot study certainly seemed to suggest this… but a more recent study by www.myvouchercodes.co.uk interviewed 950 people, 55% of which opposed TfL’s underground WiFi programme. Reasons cited include increased stress, increased theft as more people use their smartphones in public, and the ability of others to read private information in the crowded environment.
So what do you think? Will the future ulta-connected London have to bring back the padded lamp posts?