City launches fastest free WiFi network in UK

The City of London Corporation has launched a world leading free, gigabit WiFi network offering workers, residents and visitors unparalleled individual user speeds of ranging from 50 to 180 megabits per second.

Over 150 WiFi access points have been installed using City of London street furniture. This means that users across public spaces in the City will enjoy widespread, high speed and seamless coverage throughout the Square Mile - something never before seen in London.

The network will require a one-time only registration and will allow users to experience high bandwidth services, free from advertisements, at over 10 times faster speeds than previously available in the area. At these upgraded speeds, users can download a film (700 megabytes) in less than two minutes whereas a standard broadband line (10 megabits per second) would download the same film in around 12 minutes.

The gigabit WiFi network will be operated by O2, in partnership with Cornerstone Technology Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL), as part of a 15 year contract that will transform WiFi and mobile connectivity in the City.

The network was built within 28 weeks in partnership with Virgin Media, UK Power Networks and the City’s Highways contractor, J B Riney & Co Ltd.

The multi-million pound project is one of the largest investments in wireless infrastructure ever seen in London.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said:

“I am delighted to mark the launch of what will be a real game changer for the City.

“As a global financial centre we provide services for a diverse range of City occupiers. With nearly 99% of City firms SMEs, 8% of the workforce from the technology, media and telecommunications industry, and a host of start-ups moving to the City, it is vital that our digital services match the fast-paced needs of our workers.

“We also welcomed over 10 million visitors from around the world to the City in 2015, and they too will be able to benefit from an investment sure to brand the City as hub of connectivity.”

Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer, O2 said “We understand the importance of digital connectivity in terms of driving the economy and ensuring that London can continue to compete on a global scale. This is why we’re investing in the City of London’s wireless infrastructure, to give people what they need wherever they are – reliable internet on the go.”

Jamie Olejnik, Technical Programme Manager, CTIL said:

“This service not only provides a substantial improvement on the previous service, but also gives comfort to the end-user that it is robust, secure and free with no gimmicks.

“This has and continues to be a great opportunity for CTIL and our partners by leading the deployment for the benefit of all users and we are proud to support the City of London in its requirements.”

William Newton, President & EMEA MD, WiredScore added:

 “Our increasing reliance on technology has made internet connectivity the lifeblood of modern business. Complementary to existing wired connectivity within the City’s office buildings, this initiative will enhance more agile ways of working, providing workers with access to the fast and consistent internet they need, wherever they are within the Square Mile.

 “By implementing this free-to-use Wi-Fi network, the City of London Corporation clearly recognises the potential of broadband for driving productivity and growth.”

David Ivell, Chief Information Officer, The Prince's Trust said:

“The Prince’s Trust, based in the City, launched their Prince’s Trust Online programme to help thousands of disadvantaged young people gain the skills to start their own business or get into employment earlier this year.

“We are very excited at the City Corporation’s announcement as it will enable young people who want to access our online skills development but who don’t have access to data. This will greatly assist the young people of London but also encourage other cities where the need to help young people is equally strong. ”