Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wi-Fi Trial Will Let Commuters Browse Net on Underground

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wi-Fi Trial Will Let Commuters Browse Net on Underground

Article excerpt

Byline: Mark Prigg Technology Editor

COMMUTERS will be able to go online at Tube stations for the first time in a groundbreaking trial starting on Monday.

It will mean thousands of commuters at one of London's busiest stations will be able to read their email, browse the internet and even watch live TV via wi-fi hotspots.

If successful, the trial at Charing Cross could be rolled out to the capital's busiest stations within months.

"This will change the way we commute," said Will Findlater, editor of Stuff magazine.

"It's a big step forward for the Tube network, bringing it into line with the rest of the transport system. It will be a real help by allowing people to communicate on their commute." Boris Johnson has pledged to enable wireless access across the network by the 2012 Olympics.

"This trial will allow commuters to check their emails and browse the net while on the go," said Kulveer Ranger, the Mayor's transport adviser.

London Underground has teamed up with BT Openzone to launch the six-month trial. It will see wi-fi hotspots installed in the ticket hall and Northern and Bakerloo line platforms.

Although it will not give access to mobile phone networks, users will be able to use internet services such as Skype to make calls.

BT says other key stations on the Tube network are likely to be brought online before the trial ends.

"The idea is to let people access email, Facebook and even sites like the BBC's iPlayer while they are waiting for a train," said Marjorie Leonidas from BT Openzone.

Plans to roll out the system have not been finalised. "These are baby steps to see if people are happy with the service," said Miss Leonidas.

The move will bring London up to speed with other cities such as Barcelona, Glasgow and New York, where trials are already under way to offer wi-fi and phone coverage underground. …

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