London Underground is inviting telecoms companies to tender for providing public WiFi service across its network by June 2012. It follows last year’s BT Openzone trial of WiFi technology at Charing Cross tube station.
The winning bidder will be given the go-ahead by the end of this year, which means the network could be in place for the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Staff at 16 London Underground stations already have their own WiFi network; this would be opened for public use.
Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said “The roll out of wi-fi technology across the platforms and public areas of our Tube stations will finally 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 even Londoners going underground will be able to keep up to date with the British medal tally at the 2012 Games.”
The new WiFi service is not designed to be available on trains… and there’s still no sign of the much-rumoured underground mobile phone service. However, participating companies are being invited to explain how they’d create a WiFi network at bus stops.