City of London invests in public WiFi

The City of London Corporation has today announced a deal to deliver a free, public access WiFi network, offering internet access anywhere within the Square Mile.

Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) has been awarded a major 15-year contract to roll-out and manage the City of London’s new wireless network in conjunction with O2. The new network will deliver wireless services across all mobile networks for City businesses, residents and visitors.

CTIL will also build 4G mobile ‘small cells’, which will be housed on London City street furniture, including lampposts, street signs, buildings, and CCTV columns to provide enhanced mobile coverage at street level.

CTIL will partner with O2 in building the WiFi network which will be free for the public to use, replacing the current service provided by The Cloud.

The network will be more technically advanced than those found in other leading global financial centres, including New York. State-of-the-art equipment will provide speeds and see users able to enjoy high bandwidth services like video-calling and video on demand over free City WiFi following a one-time only registration.

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.

Malcolm Collins, Managing Director, CTIL, added: "This is an exciting opportunity for us to work together to lead the roll out of next generation wireless technology.

“Small cells will be key as operators look to support the growing needs of customers. We will offer an innovative wholesale solution that will enable them to do so efficiently and effectively."

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 rollout 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.”

The network is set to be fully operational by Autumn 2017.

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