Just under half of all London's tube stations could have Wi-Fi enabled by 2012. Transport for London has issued a tender to install 120 Wi-Fi connections in stations to be completed in time for the 2012 olympic games. 120 of the 260 tube stations are to receive the technology which follows a trial at Charing Cross tube stations which has enabled the site as a BT Openzone.
London Underground currently have 16 stations enabled in a system for use by staff, which will be expanded as part of the rollout. The contract is likely to be awarded by the end of 2011 giving companies six months to install and get the network working.
"The rollout of Wi-Fi technology across our Tube stations will 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.
We are inviting companies to bid to do this before next June, which would mean that Londoners going underground will be able to keep up to date with the British medal tally at the 2012 Games."Boris Johnson, Mayor of London
Wi-Fi will not be available within the tunnels, so users will only be able to connect when waiting on the platform or when pulled in to a station. This could see people rushing to send or receive e-mails, or load up webpages in the short time trains are in stations. Last month it was announced that Huawei had offered to provide £50m worth of equipment to enable mobile communications on London's tube network with Vodafone and O2 likely to cover the costs of installation. Plans for this could see it live on the Central and Jubilee lines in time for the Olympics.