Charing Cross Starts The Underground Tube Wi-Fi Experiment

Posted on Nov 2 2010 - 12:14pm by Matt Jackson

Boris Johnson said that he wanted the underground to enjoy access to networking for commuters travelling via the system and while that may not quite be here yet, BT has started rolling out its Wi-Fi network system called OpenZone to include underground stations starting with the Charing Cross station.

The 6 month trial is being paid for and established by BT giving all users access to limited Internet that will essentially provide travel information pertinent to underground users. However, it will also be possible to buy extra OpenZone minutes thereby enabling commuters to have full Internet access while in stations or ticket booths.

People that use a variety of different services including O2, Tesco Mobile, Vodafone, and Orange may have OpenZone minutes included in their monthly contract so it is worth checking. Failing that, it costs £5.99 for 90 minutes use or a rather staggering £40 for a full month usage. For a £5 per month regular subscription, though, you can access the Internet for 500 minutes every month which should prove more than enough while you’re sat waiting for the tube home.

Mayor Boris Johnson has some lofty plans for the Underground. He wants mobile phone access by the time the Olympics arrive in 2012 and while that at least seems possible, he also wants full wireless Internet access which seems less likely. However, with the might of BT on board and the potential for competition from rivals like Virgin and others, it may well happen although 2012 seems an unlikely deadline.

We’re not really sure how much benefit you would get from having mobile phone access or even wireless Internet access while on the train itself, which is a good thing, because you’ll only get that if your train is stuck or when the doors open (hopefully at a platform) but it is definitely a step in the right direction.

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