The City of London Corporation has announced that O2 will be begin offering a free access public WiFi network within the confines of the Square Mile.
The 15 year contract to roll out this new network has been awarded to Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure (CTIL) who will working with O2 to provide free WiFi to businesses, residents, and visitors.
The network is expected to be fully operational by Autumn of 2017 and will be more advanced than those used in other areas, such as New York. The high bandwidth of the new network will allow for video streaming following a onetime sign up.
Mark Boleat, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee said: “Free, reliable, high-speed wireless internet is a must for any modern, competitive financial centre. That is why I am thrilled to have CTIL deliver this essential project for the Square Mile.
“Soon, residents, visitors and workers in the City will be able to enjoy uninterrupted wireless connectivity, and this project should ensure that wireless ‘black spots’ in the Square Mile become a thing of the past.”
The new network will work by utilising specially constructed CTIL 4G mobile ‘smart cells’ which will be placed in various objects on the street, such as lampposts and CCTV columns. It is hope that this will also allow the area to become an early adopter of 5G technologies in the year 2020.
Alongside providing WiFi there are also plans to identify unserved areas within the square mile and encourage investment from fibre providers. There will also be a move to encourage landlords and tenants to undertake demand stimulation.
Derek McManus, Chief Operating Officer, O2 said: “Continued investment in infrastructure is essential to maintain the UK’s reputation as a digital leader. Connectivity plays a central role in supporting the future growth of our economy, enabling us to communicate and trade more easily, attracting overseas business and creating new jobs.”
“In fact, our own research tells us that an effective roll-out of 5G connectivity will add over £7 billion a year to the economy by 2026. That’s why we’re proud to be partnering with the City of London Corporation and CTIL to provide a network that will help London retain its position as a leading global financial centre.”
O2 says that one of the key elements to the creation of this new network is to create an upgraded standardised legal agreement to ensure the process for businesses is as seamless as possible.