Broadband News

Virgin to bring Wi-Fi underground at London's tube stations

Virgin Media will bring Wi-Fi to London's underground stations this summer with 80 to be enabled with free Wi-Fi before the Olympic games and another 40 by the end of the year. After the Olympics, TfL travel information will continue to be free, whilst full Internet access will be available on a pay-as-you-go model and through other commercial options.

"It's vital that we harness the massive opportunities stemming from the digital revolution, by creating a vibrant, world class industry to attract investment and create jobs for Londoners. Millions of passengers will now be able to connect to their work, friends or access the latest news and travel information whilst on the move. This is a fabulous new and free resource which will be in place from this summer when London is being showcased on a global stage and playing host to millions."

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

The announcement follows a tender that was put out back in March 2011 where TfL had hoped to get 120 of the 260 tube stations connected up in time for the Olympics. With the contract only just being announced, it seems the original aim has been reduced down to just 80 stations. In 2010, BT trialled Wi-Fi at Charing Cross tube station through their Openzone system which was a pre-cursor to this full deployment.

Other options to help get the underground connected included a £50m offer from Huawei to provide equipment that would allow people to use mobile phones underground, but so far no progress has been made in getting things enabled following talks between the mobile networks, TfL and Thales (the engineering firm that would install the kit) broke down.

Update 7pm: Some of the first stations to be covered by the Wi-Fi service are expected to be London Bridge, Oxford Circus, Stratford and Liverpool Street.


lol, Thale, that'd explain it. TfL probably had to wait 6-26 weeks each time they asked them something or called them before they got a reply

  • KarlAustin
  • over 8 years ago

In theory I wish that all the operators chipped in to build a single UK WiFi network, would make life so much easier and also less wifi points to install. Then they could cover the entire UK making trully mobile wifi access using Wimax.
What happened to all these compaines who brought autioned spectrum 10 years ago who promised wifi coverage?

  • Pigmaster
  • over 8 years ago

There has never been a WiFi auction, WiFi usually means the unlicensed 2.4GHz spectrum, which has a short range unless directional antenna are used, and is poor at penetrating buildings.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

Does anybody know what BT is doing??? It says they trialled it at Charing Cross via their Openzone system. I am BT customer, so it would be wonderful if BT were going to put in more WiFi. Has BT simply abandoned the idea??? Just slow to do anything more? Anybody know? Thanks in advance to anybody who does know.

  • authoriseduser545
  • over 8 years ago

As this was a tender, then likely that Virgin Media have the right to do WiFi on the underground exclusively.

In terms of publicity for Virgin Media it is worth doing I suspect for Virgin.

Hopefully arrangements for roaming will appear, so that people with other wifi passes can use it.

  • andrew
  • thinkbroadband staff
  • over 8 years ago

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