Workers and residents in London's "Square Mile" will enjoy free 1 Gbps WiFi connections, thanks to a new deal between the City of London Corporation and mobile carrier O2. The multi-million pound deal will see Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL) -- a joint venture between Vodafone and O2 owner Telefónica -- place "small cell" 4G mobile hotspots on lampposts, street signs, buildings and CCTV arrays in order to provide blanket superfast internet coverage across the city.
Free WiFi in the City of London isn't a new development. Since 2006, Sky-owned provider has served internet via a similar setup. However, the Corporation says O2's network will be faster and "more technically advanced than those found in other leading global financial centres, including New York." This is because CTIL will install equipment capable of supporting 5G technology, ready for whenever it's officially rolled out.
The announcement will likely be welcomed by the City's 8,000-plus residents and major corporations, who have bemoaned the lack of affordable superfast broadband across the Square Mile. O2's 400-strong cell network will also provide connectivity to the tens of millions of tourists who travel to London's financial district every year when it's fully activated in the autumn.