Wi-Fi Moving To London

Feb 21, 2006 (12:02 PM EST)

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Londoners are a step closer to getting Wi-Fi.

The City of London Corporation is entering into a partnership with The Cloud, Europe's largest Wi-Fi network operator to install and manage wireless broadband infrastructure in the city's financial district.

The service is expected to go live within the next few months and the entire city will be covered within six months, according to an announcement this week from The Cloud. The company announced its plans to provide wireless hotspots in several cities last month, and now the organization that provides local government services to the Square Mile, Britain's financial and commercial center, has signed on.

The high-speed Internet, rich e-mail, music, video and voice over wireless services will be available through devices installed in lamp posts, street signs and other existing fixtures. Any service provider will be able to use the service.

The news comes just after the European Commission reported that the number of broadband connections increased by 52,000 a day in Europe last year, for 53 million connections total.

In another indication that Wi-Fi is hitting its stride in London, free Wi-Fi service covering an 8-mile stretch of the River Thames has been introduced.