London’s business community will no longer be prevented from working non-stop with the news that London Underground has awarded its contract to provide Wi-Fi access on the tube to Virgin Media.
The company will provide wireless internet access in 80 stations in time for the 2012 London Olympics and roll the service out to another 40 stations by the end of the year. Wi-Fi coverage will be available in ticket halls, escalators and platforms, but not between stations.
A Virgin spokesman told Guardian Government Computing that the service is being provided at no cost to London Underground and is being funded from the company’s capital expenditure budget of some £640m for 2012.
The service will be free for passengers during the Olympics and Paralympics after the Games passengers using the network to access other services will be charged on a pay as you go basis.
This new service will also open up new advertising opportunities. “Putting Wi-Fi on Tube platforms and stations massively enhances the power and potential of technologies like image recognition and augmented reality,” says Jess Butcher, CMO of augumented technology supplier, Blippar. “These things didn’t work underground before – now they can in one of the most competitive advertising markets in the world. That’s a huge boost to this growing industry, which the UK leads the world in, by the way, and it’s a chance for advertisers and brands to come up with entirely new ways to get commuters’ attention.”
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