O2 & CTIL to build free Wi-Fi Network for City of London Corp

Monday, April 10th 2017

The City of London had earlier this year made plans to deploy a free Wi-Fi network capable of Gigabit speeds, across the 'Square Mile', the heart of the city. According to reports, the contract to build and run it has been given to O2 and Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure. This new plan will replace the older and much slower WiFi network of The Cloud (by Sky Broadband). Although exact costs have not been revealed, the City of London Corporation (CoLC) describes the 15-year contract as a multimillion pound project, which will start deployment in late spring of this year. The service will be fully operational, according to CoLC, by autumn of this year.

The Corporation also maintains that this network will be more advanced technically than those found in other leading financial centres. Users will be able to enjoy high bandwidth services over the City Wi-Fi for free, by a one time registration, the CoLC added. The new network based on 4G (LTE) will be built using 'small cells' installed on street-furniture like CCTV columns, lampposts, buildings or street-signs. It could also support in future 5G deployment, expected around 2020.

According to the Chair of the CoLC Policy & Resources Committee, Mark Boleat, he is thrilled to get this essential project delivered for the Square Mile, as reliable, free, high-speed wireless internet is a must for any competitive modern financial centre. He assured that the wireless 'black spots' found in this area will be a thing of the past. The COO of O2 in UK, Derek McManus, felt that continuous investment is essential in infrastructure, to maintain the reputation UK has as a digital leader. He pointed out that their research tells them, effective 5G roll-out will add over £7 billion into the economy per year, by 2026.

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