Tube to get Wi-Fi by summer despite delays


The London Underground is set to have Wi-Fi in place across 120 stations in time for the 2012 Olympics, despite a delayed tender process.

Transport for London (TfL) confirmed it would announce the chosen service provider in early spring, even though it initially planned to have chosen a bidder by the end of 2011.

"We are in the final stages of the tender process," said Gareth Powell, director of strategy and service development.

"London Underground is continuing with preparations to install the necessary infrastructure and is on schedule to complete the project as planned."

In March last year, TfL called on service providers to bid for the contract following a successful trial at Charing Cross station BT Openzone that has been running since November 2010.

In February 2011, it was rumoured Chinese tech giant Huawei was in talks to provide a mobile network on the Underground, but nothing has yet materialised from the reports.

Olympics organisers have sought to guarantee technological infrastructure is ready for the big event this summer. Ofcom revealed yesterday that demand for spectrum was going to double during the Games.

The regulator explained how public sector organisations would be sharing their spectrum to help deal with demand.

Mobile coverage will not be coming to the Underground in time for the Olympics, however.

TfL hoped mobile companies would be able to fund the initiative, but 3, Everything Everywhere, O2 and Vodafone said they had given up on the plans as they were unable to agree on a viable proposal.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.