The hotspots are being built by Spectrum Interactive, and sponsored by Nokia. They will apparently be free until the end of December, but there is no word about what will happen after then; i.e. will they disappear or require payment?
Spectrum Interactive already run 1,800 WiFi hotposts across the country, including 1,000 in London.
You can register for a free WiFi account with Nokia via the registration page.
The 26 hotspots can be found in the following locations:
- Lancaster Gate
- Oxford St
- Sloane Square
- South Kensington
- Tottenham Court Road
Spectrum Interactive’s chairman Simon Alberga reported that transfer speeds would be capped at 1.0 Mbps down and 0.5 Mbps up. If you’ve found and used one of these hotspots, please report your experiences (are they better than other hotspots?) in the comments.
Here's an extract from the press release:
The two-month trial is intended to assess both the demand for free Wi-Fi access and the browsing behaviour of consumers using the service across the capital. The findings will be used to determine the best locations for future hotspots and the necessary bandwidth to meet robust consumer demand.
“Nokia believes you can upgrade every day moments to make them amazing. Providing free Wi-Fi access to London commuters and visitors does just that. On-the-go internet access has become an indispensible part of modern life,” said John Nichols, Head of Marketing at Nokia. “From tourists finding their way around the capital, to commuters updating Facebook or browsing on the move, we all depend on mobile to share our everyday experiences and enhance our lives. Nokia is pleased to sponsor this pilot which we hope will connect people even more easily than ever before.”
Simon Alberga, Executive Chairman at Spectrum Interactive, commented: “While 4G mobile access is firmly on the horizon, Wi-Fi coverage currently fills a much needed niche between 3G mobile internet and home broadband. Tablets and mobile phones are capable of incredibly high-end browsing experiences now, but Wi-Fi access is often a requirement to support the tasks many of us want to be able to do on the move, such as uploading multimedia to Facebook or watching YouTube. It’s great to be able to implement a service that so many people will quickly come to regard as indispensible.”
Chris Bull, Founder of Selective Media continued: “Bringing together all the different parties involved in this rollout has been a fantastic experience. This is a service that Londoners need and want and Nokia and Spectrum Interactive make a great team. We look forward to working with Nokia moving forward on similar projects.”