Free Wi-Fi goes live in London tube stations
Travellers and technophiles using the London Underground network will no longer have to worry about losing touch with the world above. Wi-Fi Internet access has arrived at London Underground stations, allowing passengers to stay connected throughout, from ticket halls to escalators to platforms, though Wi-Fi will cease to work once in the London Underground tunnels.
Gareth Powell, London Underground’s Director of Strategy and Service Development, said: “Wi-Fi at tube stations will help us improve the journeys of the millions of people who use the Underground everyday at no cost to fare or tax payers.”
The move comes as part of a multi-billion pound effort to upgrade the Underground’s ageing infrastructure, the oldest underground network in the world. It also coincides with this summer’s London Olympics, which will run from July 27th until August 12th.
The service is provided by Virgin Media, and full Internet access will be free to all passengers until the end of summer. Registering an e-mail address is all that is required to log on. From September, free access will be limited to Virgin Media’s Wi-Fi portal, which will provide selected use of Virgin Media’s partners sites. This will include daily recommendations from Time Out, playlists from Spotify and showbiz news from MyMovies.net, as well as access to Transport for London (TfL) travel information.
Those wishing to access the rest of the Internet whilst underground will be offered a range of options. This will include full Internet access for Virgin Media customers. To those on other networks, a Pay As You Go service will be put in place.
King’s Cross and Warren Street tube stations were the first to receive access on the 7th June. As of today, this will be extended to Oxford Circus and Green Park stations, with Victoria and Euston tube stops going live on the 9th. By the end of July, up to 80 tube stations are expected to be connected. This number is expected to be 120 by the end of 2012.
Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett said: “This is a truly historic moment as we connect millions of tube passengers to the wonderful world of the Internet for the first time ever. Our plans for getting London Underground online were very ambitious from the start, and in less than just three months, we’ve launched a major new service making London one of the world’s leading connected cities.”
Photo: Tom Oldham/Virgin Media