An agreement between Westminster City Council, the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea and O2 is going to result in the largest free WiFi zone in Europe. Free WiFi will be available to millions of residents and visitors using laptops, tablets and phones in the Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea areas of London.
O2 will begin installing the WiFi network this month, with the initial roll-out restricted to a limited number of areas before coverage is increased throughout the boroughs. The scheme will be run at no cost to the councils or the taxpayer.
Councillor Philippa Roe, Cabinet Member for Strategic Finance at Westminster City Council, said “This is a landmark achievement for Westminster; Westminster welcomes over a million tourists a day, is home to 250,000 residents, employs over half a million people and sees 4,000 business starts-ups each year. Next summer’s Olympic Games mean that London will be putting on the biggest show on earth and as Westminster has a starring role, visitors to London will easily be able to share their pictures and updates of the Olympic events across social networking sites.”
Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer for O2 said, “This ground-breaking deal - the first of its kind in the UK - will see us deliver high quality connectivity across London in time for London 2012. Our longer-term aim is to expand our footprint of O2 Wifi, which is open to everyone, and also intelligently enhance our services at street level, where people need the network the most. Our £500m annual network investment programme is focussed on integrating new layers of technology into the existing network to enable a seamless and sustained customer experience. We are driven entirely by our customers’ needs and believe that services should be delivered in the best possible way, across multiple networks and supported by different technologies.”