The City of London launched its wifi network this week, effectively turning the Square Mile into one big hotspot, 24 hours per day. The wifi network is as a result of the City of London Corporation entering into a partnership with The Cloud, Europe’s largest wifi network operator, to install and manage the network.
Michael Snyder, chairman of the City of London’s Policy Committee, said: “City workers and visitors will be able to use wireless broadband to work more efficiently; staying in touch with their office via hand-held devices while on the move.”
The network is being installed in lamp posts and street signs, allowing City workers and visitors with wifi-enabled devices to access the internet on streets and in open spaces. To access the wifi network users need an existing wifi service provider such as O2 or BT (but not T-Mobile), or direct with The Cloud for a flat rate tariff of £11.99 per month (minimum twelve month contract), or a weekly tariff of £11.99, both allowing unlimited use across its 7,000 UK hotspots and 9 city centre hotzones.
George Polk, CEO of The Cloud, said: “Increasingly corporate users are turning to wifi for a range of services, including converged voice services and we have strong demand from existing customers for coverage in high density and high profile locations like the City of London. We expect this trend to continue. In addition, the network is designed to support secure access and private data networks for the emergency services, and other public services customers in the City of London such as transport authorities.”
Bobby Sarin, COO, The Cloud commented: “For too long, public wifi access has been over-reliant on high voucher pricing for revenue which has hindered frequent usage, despite wifi’s high performance and popularity. Ultra wifi finally allows everyone to have great value, “always on,” flat rate access to high-speed wifi across the UK for £11.99 per month.”
The City of London initiative is not the first such zone from The Cloud however – Manchester’s was launched earlier this month and others planned are in Birmingham, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Liverpool, Nottingham and Oxford, along with the London boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea, Camden and Islington which will all go live this summer.
In addition to the new hotzones coverage, people will be able to log on and use unlimited wifi at conventional Cloud hotspots located at BAA airports, regional airports, First Great Western train stations, Coffee Republic outlets, Little Chef cafés, Swallow Hotels and over 4,000 pubs and regional hotels across the country, as well as the business district of Canary Wharf. Launched in mid 2003, The Cloud partners with Vonage, O2, BT, Vodafone, Skype, iPass, Nintendo and Intel, among others, to facilitate the growth of wireless broadband services across Europe. The Cloud’s investors include 3i IT Provider and Accel Partners, Europe.
For more information visit thecloud.net.
Report by Tom Otley