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Wi-Fi Tube plans progress

by Sarah Griffiths on 28 March 2011, 11:37

Tags: General Business

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Going underground

London Underground (LU) is pressing ahead with its plans to roll out a Wi-Fi network across 120 Tube stations, despite worries about terrorism

According to the BBC, LU has invited firms to tender for a network-wide contract after a trial at Charring Cross, which could see Wi-Fi available for travellers in time for the Olympics.

Mayor of London, Boris Johnson reportedly said: "The roll out will finally allow Londoners to use mobile devices to pick up their e-mails and stay in touch with the world while they traverse our subterranean network. We are inviting companies to bid before next June, which would mean Londoners underground will be able to keep up to date with the British medal tally at the 2012 Games."

LU has shot down warnings from security experts that Wi-Fi could increase the risk of terrorism on the underground. Security people apparently worry that a Wi-Fi network could make it easier for fraudsters and terrorists to target people using the Tube.

Founder of security firm ICP group, Will Geddes, reportedly said: "There are lots of implications in terms of terrorism and security. This will enable people to use their laptop on the Tube as if it was a cell phone."

He has apparently seen plenty of examples of bomb attacks triggered remotely by mobile phones and said a Wi-Fi network would make it easier for terrorists to communicate underground. Geddes also reportedly reckons that Trojans could be used to steal bank details form commuters.

However, a Transport for London spokesman told Auntie: "Access to mobile and data networks is already common on many world metros and our customers tell us they would welcome this. The majority of the Underground is actually above ground where customers can already use mobile and data services. LU has tried and tested procedures in place to deal with unattended items on the Tube."

Recently a survey found  that around three quarters of Londoners do not want a mobile network on London's underground, although that includes being able to make voice calls, rather than a simple Wi-Fi network.

According to the survey, almost a third of people are against the use of mobiles on the Tube because they worry it might increase the chance of them becoming a victim of a mugger or thief, while 16 percent reportedly said they think using their mobile underground will boost their bill.

HEXUS Forums :: 1 Comment

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I for one welcome this, it's a bit backwards to have no form of communication at all on the tube in this day and age.

As for the argument against voice calls, I would love to see people try and use voice calling on the underground, it can get so loud in the tunnels sometimes that you can't even hear the person right next to you.