People in the City of London will soon have free wireless internet access after operator The Cloud said it would stop charging for its Wi-Fi service.
Currently The Cloud operates a wireless network across the square mile, but it is only free of charge for 15 minutes. After that users have to pay to stay connected.
During this summer’s Olympic Games a free service was trialled which saw connections increase by almost 100% compared to the previous three months. Now The Cloud and the City of London Corporation have decided to extend the scheme and make it free for everyone all the time.
"The success of our free Wi-Fi service during the Olympics and Paralympics demonstrated that it’s a vital technology for visitors and shoppers as much as the City’s business community, so we’re pleased we can now make it available to everyone, especially at a time when other providers are switching to pay-for-use services," said Vince Russell, managing director of The Cloud.
Mark Boleat, Policy Chairman at the City of London Corporation, said offering free Wi-Fi is essential if the square mile is to remain one of the world’s most popular destinations for businesses and tourists.
"The Square Mile is home to 10,000 residents, 400,000 workers, and five million visitors a year. As the world’s leading global financial and business centre, the City of London has one of the biggest concentrations of smartphones in the UK so having the best communications infrastructure in place to access vital information on the move is of critical importance," he said.
"This partnership between the City of London Corporation and The Cloud will ensure that the Square Mile keeps pace with growing demand in a rapidly evolving technological landscape," Boleat added.
There will be no restrictions on how much data can be used, the City of London Corporation said, but The Cloud can filter out adult content.
The Cloud is said to operate 15,000 Wi-Fi hotspots across the UK and has deals in place to provide free wireless internet access to businesses such as PizzaExpress, WH Smith, Caffè Nero, Eat, Greggs, Pret and Wagamama. It also operates Wi-Fi hotspots on the London Overground transport network.