British cities gear up for city-wide WiFi

Written by Wil Harris

January 4, 2006 | 17:38

Tags: #city #coverage #internet #the-cloud #wifi #wireless

Companies: #uk

bit-tech reader MrWillyWonka writes:

With wireless hotspots becoming more available in the US, city-wide WiFi is finally coming to the UK, with blanket coverage planned for 9 major cities. The service is expected to be available to 4 million people - not just in cafes, bars and restaurants but in an entire urban area.

The service will be accessible by any Wi-Fi enabled device, including laptops, mobile phones, PSP and PDAs, to use the internet and make cheap phone calls.

Currently small hotspots exist in various places, such as the Nintendo wireless hotspots in McDonalds and BT Openzone spots in service stations and airports.

Behind this plan is The Cloud, who already have 6000 hotspots already available in three European countries. More wireless coverage for more UK cities will be announced later this year, and the current rollout should be completed by March.

Canary Wharf in London currently holds the record as the largest wireless hotspot in Europe, but the new plans will overtake this. Prepare for WiFi in:
  • Edinburgh
  • Leeds
  • Manchester
  • Birmingham
  • Nottingham
  • Oxford
  • Cambridge
  • Liverpool
  • Kensington, London
  • Chelsea, London
  • Islington, London
With The Cloud rolling out the infrastructure, the operators available to take your money will be:
  • BT Openzone
  • O2
  • SkypeZones
  • Nintento Wi-Fi
Unlike plans in San Francisco, the WiFi will not be free for all to access, but with these service providers charging - although, hopefully, less than they charge now.

Looking forward to being able to get the internet wherever you are? Let us know your thoughts in the News Discussion forum.
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