Telecomms powerhouse Nokia, and Spectrum Interactive, the UK’s leading independent provider of Wi-Fi services, recently announced the first large scale trial of free Wi-Fi access in some of the busiest areas of the capital. Yep, that’ll be you then Oxford Street, Tottenham Court Road, Bloomsbury, Bayswater, Knightsbridge, Westminster, Sloane Square, Victoria, Marylebone, Mayfair and Lancaster Gate… phew. This is (believe it or not) the first ever public Wi-Fi scheme in the UK that’s specifically aiming to make it easier for people on the move to access online services for free.
So what’s the big deal, then? If you’re in one of the above areas (the “special” ones focused on for the launch which took place on November 1) users do not need to register to use the service; they simply log-on to the network, accept the terms and conditions and browsing can begin immediately. How very nice?
The Wi-Fi network supports access speeds of up to 20Mbps via equipment installed in street-side phone boxes owned by Spectrum Interactive. Lovely. Net access is initially available for a trial period at 26 street hotspots from now until the end of 2011 and will test how consumers interact with the free Wi-Fi service. Following a successful trial, plans are in place for a large-scale roll-out across London from early 2012. Nifty.
Simon Alberga, Executive Chairman at Spectrum Interactive, commented: “While 4G mobile access is firmly on the horizon, Wi-Fi coverage currently fills a much needed niche between 3G mobile internet and home broadband. Tablets and mobile phones are capable of incredibly high-end browsing experiences now, but Wi-Fi access is often a requirement to support the tasks many of us want to be able to do on the move, such as uploading multimedia to Facebook or watching YouTube. It’s great to be able to implement a service that so many people will quickly come to regard as indispensable.”
The two-month trial (accessible right now, don’t forget) is intended to assess both the demand for free Wi-Fi access and the browsing behaviour of consumers using the service across the city. The findings will be used to determine the best locations for future hotspots and the necessary bandwidth to meet robust consumer demand.
Chris Bull, Founder of Selective Media continued: “Bringing together all the different parties involved in this rollout has been a fantastic experience. This is a service that Londoners need and want and Nokia and Spectrum Interactive make a great team. We look forward to working with Nokia moving forward on similar projects.”
For more information visit the Spectrum Interactive website: http://www.spectruminteractive.co.uk