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City of London announces free public wi-fi for the Square Mile

Monday, April 10th 2017 by Phil Wilkinson-Jones

The City of London has announced plans to build a free public wi-fi network in the Square Mile.

The multi-million pound project will deliver wireless services across all mobile networks for City businesses, residents and visitors.

A 15-year contract to roll out and manage the network has been awarded to Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL).

4G transmitters known as ‘small cells’ will be installed on lampposts, street signs, buildings and CCTV columns around the Square Mile to enhance mobile coverage at street level.

CTIL will partner with O2 to build the wi-fi network, which will be up and running by autumn 2017 and will replace the current service provided by The Cloud.

The new network will let users enjoy high-bandwidth activities such as video-calling and streaming, and leave the City well placed to become an early adopter of 5G.

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 City has also launched a campaign to help bring affordable gigabit broadband to the area and is looking to identify unserved areas of the Square Mile, and encourage investment from fibre providers and take-up among landlords and tenants.

'New jobs'

Derek McManus, O2’s chief operating officer, 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 £7bn 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.”

Malcolm Collins, managing director of CTIL, said: “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.”

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