Broadband News

London underground stations to receive Wi-Fi by 2012 Olympics

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.


will ease the pain of waiting in queues i guess. Wonder if anyone cares about the third of the country without a decent internet connection and virtually no mobile coverage either? Guess not. We'll all have to relocate to tube stations. and bring our businesses there. Might be tricky for those of us with cows and sheep though.

  • cyberdoyle
  • over 9 years ago

Waste of money.

  • JeremyBoden
  • over 9 years ago

Retarded idea, just extend mobile coverage down there, sorted.

  • otester
  • over 9 years ago

cyberdoyle,what has any of this got to do with lack of Internet connections where there is a lack of people?

  • SheepFarmer
  • over 9 years ago

Very useful to have this on the platforms - far more so than 3G given the improved throughput of wi-fi. And unlikely to have any impact on rural broadband either way.

It will be interesting to see whether any public funds are involved in paying for this. I'd expect the supplier to pay and also share part of any profit with London Underground.

  • New_Londoner
  • over 9 years ago

I do wonder if Wi-Fi can cope with hundreds of people connecting to and then disconnecting from a hotspot within a minute or so. I guess there might not be that many users who do try and connect though.

  • john
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 9 years ago

As already stated. Waste of money.

  • Oddball
  • over 9 years ago

@JeremyBoden @JeremyBoden

Why is it a waste of money?

  • SheepFarmer
  • over 9 years ago

Presumably the Charing Cross trial tested lots of connections and disconnections as trains passed through the platforms loaded with people with iPhones?

  • New_Londoner
  • over 9 years ago

Independent Newspaper April 1
Networks call time on Olympic bid for mobiles on the Tube

By Nick Clark

Friday, 1 April 2011

Hopes that Londoners would be able to use their mobile phones on the underground in time for the Olympics were dashed last night, after the UK’s largest mobile operators said the work could not be done in time.

Full story on line at

  • GPOkLuG
  • over 9 years ago

Has anyone looked into the health and safety aspect of using a mobile device on the platform. Picture a crowded platform during rush hour with various people looking into their phone, you can just picture people bumping into one another and should I dare question anyone falling on the rails ?

  • over 9 years ago

Maybe this is out-of-date? See the BBCNews story at which suggests that the plan has been de-railed (sorry about the pun) by escalating costs.

  • michaels_perry
  • over 9 years ago

@ michaels_perry
This is not out of date - it says exactly the same thing as the BBC link you posted!

  • ggugvrunt
  • over 9 years ago

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