London Underground to trial Wi-Fi

The London Underground has plans underway to test out Wi-Fi access on some stations beneath London. BT will run the testing on their BT Openworld Wi-Fi service that caters for many customers across the United Kingdom. The first test of the service will take place on the Northern and Bakerloo lines at Charing Cross. The service will begin on Monday November 1st and run for 6 months before a decision will be made to extend the service to other lines. It is noted that the Wi-Fi service will not include trains, but just the station platforms.

As is the norm with BT Openzone, you can connect up to it via either a BT Openzone voucher or though free access available with some mobile phone contracts such as for the iPhone and devices from O2, Vodafone and others. Commuters will also be able to access the live Transport for London (TfL) service updates through the connection. The Transport for London service keeps commuters up to date about what lines are having problems on the underground.

In the press release that came out earlier today, Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor of London's Transport Adviser, said "An ever growing commuter populous has been clamoring to be able to check their emails and browse the net whilst on the go. This trial at Charing Cross will allow them to do just that whilst on the Tube platform" 

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16 Comments

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Wow, this means I can check the net about journeys and stuff - but then I could do that before I went down to the tracks so not much point. Save all the gadgets and stuff, start working on air con.

ChuckFinley said,
I dont know why they havent done this sooner. And when I read it it its only the stations . . . Not brilliant.

+1.

It would have been better to have this on the trains rather than stations only.
THEN roll it out to stations.

Whoever proposed this plan has clearly never been on the underground. If anyone got their laptop out would more than likely followed out of the station and turned over. People just about get their phones out, and god help you if it's an easily recognisably expensive one (iPhone 4, Desire).

Saying that, just an ordinary phone signal throughout the tunnels would be better in case of emergencies.

When will companies realize that the majority of people won't pay to use WiFi.

Many of the people who would have a WiFi capable device (laptop) with them would also probably have a smartphone with a data plan. I can see airplanes being a big hit with frequent travelers, but coffee shops, airports and now subway stations? I'm not going to spend $5 to check my email.

Brandon said,
When will companies realize that the majority of people won't pay to use WiFi.

Many of the people who would have a WiFi capable device (laptop) with them would also probably have a smartphone with a data plan. I can see airplanes being a big hit with frequent travelers, but coffee shops, airports and now subway stations? I'm not going to spend $5 to check my email.

Thankfully there's no mobile access on the tube so a data plan won't do you much good.

Why is this newsworthy? I'm sorry this is more back page stuff.

On topic, just put some wifi access points in the trains. Pay me 5 thousand dollars and I'd do it. Of course they will spend 10 times that on this project.

ccoltmanm said,
Why is this newsworthy? I'm sorry this is more back page stuff.

On topic, just put some wifi access points in the trains. Pay me 5 thousand dollars and I'd do it. Of course they will spend 10 times that on this project.

Why isn't it newsworthy?

Useless... i'd rather have phone signal(which can be used to talk or 3g internet) in the trains rather than wifi only platforms....

I suppose it's potentially useful for tourists who are trying to get info about where they're going before they arrive, but if you're from abroad you'll need to pay to use OpenZone and by the time you've done that your train will have arrived. I can see potential use for business people who want a batch of e-mails sent when they step off the train on to the platform, but considering most stations take all of 2 minutes to exit, I really can't see this being of much benefit. Having said that though, considering how often the underground suffers delays, it might help keep people entertained whilst they wait!

Benjy91 said,
Theres a BTOpenzone near me, and it just asks me to pay for it when ever I connect my O2 iPhone to it.

this is because it's probably not a "real" openzone
but a BTFONE-style one from someones house