London Tube Wi-Fi Network Reaches 150 Stations

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Virgin Media adds six new stations to the tube Wi-Fi network, claiming 3TB is being downloaded each day

The London Underground Wi-Fi network is now available in six more stations, bringing the total number of wireless-enabled locations on the capital’s subterranean railway to 150.

The majority of the stations have connections to the District Line but the Northern and Hammersmith & City routes also receive some attention, with Wimbledon, Richmond, Morden, East Ham, Barking and Upminster the latest to receive the Wi-Fi treatment.

The Wi-Fi network is operated by Virgin Media, which won the contract from Transport for London (TfL) in 2012 and launched the service in June that year. The company says 2.5 million devices have now been registered, contributing to a total of 3TB of data downloaded every day.

Virgin Media Tube Wi-Fi

London underground tfl christmas star lights © Bikeworldtravel Shutterstock“This is a milestone moment for Virgin Media,” said Joe Lathan, director of broadband at Virgin Media. “Tube passengers have loved the Wi-Fi service ever since we launched in time for London 2012. Now they can benefit from live travel information, news and social media in Tube stations across the capital.”

The busiest point on the whole network is the platform for the Waterloo & City Line at Waterloo, while Kings Cross and Oxford Circus are the most active stations overall. Euston, Warren Street, Green Park, Bank, Victoria, LDN Bridge, Canada Water and Waterloo as a whole make up the top ten, but Virgin Media says all parts of London are benefiting with Stockwell and Finsbury Park seeing some of the highest volume of passengers getting online.

“Wi-Fi on the Tube is one of many ways we’re improving our customers’ journeys and the service has moved from strength to strength since it launched,” added Gareth Powell London Underground’s director of strategy and service development. “We’re delighted that 150 stations on the Tube now have Wi-Fi which will help our customers benefit from live travel information, news and social media while they are on the move across the capital.”

Mobile coverage?

Virgin Media has agreed wholesale deals with all four major mobile operators to allow their customers to access the Wi-Fi network at no additional cost, claiming that EE, O2, Vodafone and Three customers account for 95 percent of all mobile users in London. Virgin Media’s broadband customers also receive free access, while pay-as-you-go options are offered for anyone without a partner agreement, while all passengers can receive free travel information.

Despite the success of Tube Wi-Fi service, there have been additional calls for mobile coverage to be added to the London Underground.

Transport for London (TfL) told TechWeekEurope last year that although it supported the idea of mobile roll-out on the Tube “in principle”, any project should not come at the expense of taxpayers or fare payers and that major UK phone operators had so far been unable to come up with a self-financing solution for voice calls in the depths of the tube.

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