Recent success for an Underground Wi-Fi service, trialled at London’s Charing Cross station, has gotten Transport For London eager for bidders interested in providing a network-wide communication service, to cover 16 tube stations before the beginning of 2012 Olympics.
TFL brought in BT Openzone to run the trials from November 2010, and the Wi-Fi service is currently on-going available to staff. TFL are now looking to expand and improve the service and hardware to allow public access to the Wi-Fi network and improving communications during (and presumably continuing after) the 2012 games in London – letting travellers keep track of the games online with their mobile devices.
Boris Johnson, the outspoken mayor of the city says “The roll out of Wi-Fi technology across the platforms and public areas of our Tube stations will finally allow Londoners to use mobile devices to pick up their emails, access social media sites and stay in touch with the world above while they traverse our subterranean transport network.”
It should be noted however that these comments by Big Boris are somewhat ambiguous. The current plan for the service reportedly will not cover the trains themselves and Wi-Fi will only be available on the station platform, not during your travel. Hopefully TFL and the eventual service provider will mind this gap, and make the obvious leap to on-board Wi-Fi.
Transport For London’s plan for tube-wide Wi-Fi will no doubt already have the attention of a number of big bidders and should see the light at the end of the tunnel in mid-2012.
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