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London Underground Wi-Fi connectivity due within months

Warwick Ashford

London Underground passengers will be able to tap into Wi-Fi networks at 80 of the 217 tube stations within a few months and 127 stations by the end of the year.

However it remains unclear when or whether the WiFi coverage to be provided by Virgin Media will be extended to the whole of the London Underground network, according to the Telegraph.

Commuters will be able to connect to the internet at stations which are Wi-Fi enabled, but not while travelling between stations.

An earlier proposal, by Chinese telecoms equipment firm Huawei, to install 3G phone and data services throughout the London Underground, was shelved. The cost of installing antennas would have been extremely high as the lack of space between the trains and the tunnels would have required extensive construction work, according to the BBC.

Gareth Powell, London Underground's director of strategy and service development, said the cost of providing the Wi-Fi service would be covered by the commercial contract, not farepayers and taxpayers.

After an initial registration, users of the service can log on at the start of each journey. At first the service will be free, but will eventually be accessible only to Virgin customers or on a pay-as-you-go basis.

"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," said Boris Johnson, London's mayor.


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