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West End Live and London Pride gain from next-gen connectivity

Attendees of recent large, free-entry public events in central London are said to have benefited from ultra-fast public Wi-Fi installed on street furniture, supporting the operation of key facilities and devices

With access to good, never mind acceptable, wireless connectivity now a given for mass sporting and music events, two of London’s most-popular, free-entry public events, Pride in London and West End Live 2024, have upped their game in the communications stakes through deals with wireless technology provider Ontix.

Taking place over two consecutive weekends in June at the world-renowned central hotspot of Trafalgar Square, more than 70,000 musical theatre fans attended West End Live this year to see a line-up of famous and popular West End musicals, and over 32,000 took part in the Pride in London parade and thousands more visiting to celebrate one of the largest and longest-running festivals of its kind in the country. With sponsors of West End Live including TikTok, Ontix said it was able to ensure visitors had access to free public Wi-Fi to stream, transact, download, upload and communicate speedily without the risk of overloading network traffic.

Over the course of the events, Ontix’s network carried over 100GB of data for Pride in London and 130GB for West End Live – what the company calculated to be the equivalent to over a month’s worth of daily video streaming. To facilitate the quality of experience, Ontix installed Wi-Fi units discreetly on existing street furniture, such as lampposts, and made use of its existing fibre to create “ultra-fast” Wi-Fi access points and enhance wireless support for these large-scale, back-to-back events. 

The organisers of West End Live had additional support from Ontix in the form of a private fixed wireless access (FWA) network, providing “a vital connectivity boost to maintain the continuous operation of critical infrastructure and key event facilities, such as CCTV and electronic point of sale systems. This is said to have helped create a secure and commercially successful environment for the organisers. 

Boosting connectivity at the London landmark was also made possible thanks to responsible local government authority Westminster City Council’s long-term concession agreement with Ontix, which sees its solution permanently installed on lampposts across the City of Westminster, covering some of central London’s most famous landmarks.

In all, Ontix said its technology showcased how public Wi-Fi is an easily deployable and game-changing solution for the operation and success of regular, high-footfall events in busy locations.

“Outdoor Wi-Fi networks are an easily deployable, power-efficient and cost-effective solution quickly becoming essential for event organisers. For critical infrastructure and key facilities to operate properly, Wi-Fi networks can take the burden of thousands of people off mobile networks by providing an alternative connection,” commented the company’s head of engineering Tom Hayden. “It’s not just about posting selfies – although public Wi-Fi is important for that too – it’s about easily creating a secure, efficient environment for regular large-scale events on an on-demand basis to ensure connectivity stays continuous.”

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