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June 6, 2012

First London Underground stations to receive free Wi-Fi announced

Transport for London has confirmed the first underground tube stations to receive free Wi-Fi.

By Tineka Smith

Virgin Media has begun rolling out its wireless network services to London Underground stations. Oxford Circus, Stratford, Kings Cross, Liverpool Street and Leicester Square and Leicester Square are among the first stations to offer free Wi-Fi service.

London Underground

The service will be available in 80 stations by July and 120 by the end of the year. The Wi-Fi connections will only work on platforms, escalators, and ticket offices.

"Millions of passengers will now be able to connect to their work, friends or access the latest news and travel information whilst on the move," Boris Johnson said back in March.

Tube Passengers will be able to connect to the service for free, starting in July. After the Olympics, however, the service will be pay-as-you go or as a part of Virgin Media broadband and mobile subscriptions for their customers.

Those accessing the service during the Olympics will have access to the internet, email and social media but not mobile phone service.

Overground passengers will also be able to check email and surf the internet for free at all 56 Wi-Fi hotspots that will be installed in time for the Olympics.

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Steve Murphy, managing director of London Overground Rail operations, says the service will allow people to communicate easily while on the go.

"Access to the internet is no longer limited solely to home or to the workplace, and people’s expectation is to be able to work and communicate effectively and seamlessly while they’re on the move so we’re delighted to support this initiative which will bring reliable, free Wi-Fi to London Overground’s customers," said Murphy.

The first 12 Overground stations to receive free Public WiFi are Dalston, Forest Hill, Hackney Central, Kensington Olympia, New Cross Gate, Norwood Junction, Shepherd’s Bush, Surrey Quays, Wapping, West Croydon, West Hampstead and Willesden Junction.

BSkyB owned WiFi provider, The Cloud, will be responsible for running the Overground Wi-Fi hotspots and those who want to access the service only need to register once.

Unlike the London Underground Wi-Fi service, which will only be free during the Olympics, the London Overground Wi-Fi service will remain free for its passengers at all its hotspots.

Although access to free Wi-Fi will provide convenience for many, some data protection specialists say it is important to be aware of the dangers of accessing unsecure Wi-Fi Networks.

"Whilst it’s easy to see the attraction of using free Wi-Fi, often the potential dangers to your information can be overlooked," said Vinod Bange, a partner specialising in Data Protection at Taylor Wessing Law Firm. "Logging on to an unsecure Wi-Fi network can open up the personal and corporate information on your computer, tablet, Smartphone or other such device, to any nearby hackers," he said.

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