The City of London To Get Wi-Fi
By DAVID SIMS
TMCnet CRM Alert Columnist
The City of London Corporation has announced plans to install a dense and comprehensive Wi-Fi internet network throughout London's Square Mile in partnership with The Cloud, Europe's largest Wi-Fi network, which will install and manage the project.
It's expected to go live in the next few months, with virtually all the City covered within six months. The network will use existing street furniture, including lamp posts and street signs, so users with Wi-Fi-enabled devices will be able to access the Internet on streets and in open spaces.
The Cloud's open network also means any service provider can use the network to provide services to its customers, in support of such applications as high speed internet access, rich e-mail access, music, video and other entertainment services, and voice over Wi-Fi.
A couple weeks ago Netstumbler.com posted the news that London lost its place as the city with the most Wi-Fi hotspots, according to Wi-Fi mapping company JiWire.
In January 2005 that London, New York and Paris were the top three cities, but by the start of this year London had 1,627 hotspots, placing it behind Seoul at 2,056 and Tokyo at 1,802.
Overall the number of worldwide hotspots grew 87 per cent last year, from 53,779 in 93 countries to 100,355 in 115 countries.
George Polk, CEO of The Cloud, said the Wi-Fi network will "enhance the capabilities of the 350,000 or so City workers" by providing "easy access and user friendly terms for City businesses, workers and visitors alike."
Polk also said 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."
Currently The Cloud offers national wireless LAN coverage in hotspot locations throughout the UK, Sweden and Germany. The Cloud's infrastructure is a multi-service provider platform, which allows providers such as ISPs, mobile operators and cable companies to offer a fully branded wireless LAN to their customers.
Launched in mid 2003, The Cloud actively partners with O2, BT, Vodafone, Skype, Nintendo and Intel, among others.
What is expected to soon become the world's first citywide wireless-computer network in a major metropolis is currently being built in Taipei, Taiwan by the city government in partnership with a private company to cover half the city's 106 square miles.
David Sims is contributing editor for TMCnet. For more articles please visit David Sims' columnist page.
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