I suspect this may be the wave of the future. We may see this in more and more cities and towns worldwide. I also know some hotels in London that will be disappointed as they have been gouging customers for wifi access for a long time and I have the receipts to prove it.
Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett told investors that the company is in “quite advanced negotiations” with London councils over the plans and said he was optimistic the rollout would begin “in the not too distant future”.
“The proposition would be that we would provide free Wifi access for all,” he said.
Virgin Media’s WiFi network will be freely available to anyone at 0.5Mbps (megabits per second), and to its home broadband subscribers at up to 10Mbps.
You can read more in an article by Christopher Williams in The Telegraph at http://goo.gl/t9AYj
This makes sense to me. We have high-speed 4G and 3G wireless networks available that cover a wide area. However, those networks are already saturated in many metropolitan areas. Adding thousands, or millions, of more users to today's 4G and 3G networks is impossible with the present technology.
Instead of offering a service that connects to a base station with roughly five-mile coverage, Virgin Media is offering to install dozens of very short range wi-fi base stations in the same area. Each base station will have a range of perhaps 200 or 300 feet and these stations will be installed perhaps 300 feet apart. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of simultaneous users can be accommodated in this method of very short range wireless communications.
Virgin Media already has "wired the streets" as it provides cable television to homes throughout London. The present services include high-speed broadband Internet access. All Virgin Media has to do is to install WiFi routers in its existing infrastructure, including in the street-side cabinets that distribute its cable network into homes.
Technically, this should be easy to do. I am not so sure about the business considerations, however. Where's the profits in giving away this service free of charge?
This should be interesting to watch. If successful, I would expect to see other companies to soon follow Virgin Media's lead in other cities and towns.
If you enjoyed this article, Tweet it, share it on Google+, Facebook or on your preferred social network.
Republishing of this article in newsletters, blogs, and elsewhere is allowed and encouraged. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/hoHH1.
Of course, if you haven’t done so already, you should join my email newsletter mailing list to stay current on my latest articles and announcements. You can also cancel at any time within seconds. I promise to never, ever send you any unrequested e-mail, other than newsletter updates.