oday, Europe's most advanced outdoor WiFi network will be switched on across the entire City of London -- the famous Square Mile. More than 350,000 people who work in and visit the area now have wireless broadband access throughout the City. The network has been built and is operated by The Cloud, a leading wireless broadband provider. Free access for the first month will be provided in association with Nokia, allowing anyone with a WiFi-enabled device (1) to get online in the City.
Twelve months of development and testing have enabled The Cloud and the City of London Corporation to deploy Europe's densest, most comprehensive city-wide WiFi network. The Cloud will continue to tune the network over the coming weeks as new users, applications and devices begin to use the service.
The network's capabilities have been made possible with advanced mobile broadband mesh technology supplied by BelAir Networks. The network currently comprises 127 nodes and will evolve to offer 95% coverage across areas owned by the City of London Corporation. Reinforcing the Square Mile's status as a world-leading financial and business centre, BelAir Networks patented technology delivers industry-leading performance and reliability. The City-wide WiFi network has been designed and built onto existing street furniture including lamp posts and street signs.
The network allows anyone with WiFi-enabled devices including laptops, PDAs, media players and smart phones such as the new generation of Nokia devices to take their broadband with them. The Cloud and Nokia will be conducting a variety of promotional activities at various venues across the City over the next month where the two companies will be demonstrating the power and advantages of the network.
The neutrality of The Cloud's pioneering approach is fundamental for local authorities wishing to provide truly open access to both public and private audiences. The Cloud ensures that a wide range of services are immediately available, from high speed internet and email access to voice, music, video, gaming and other entertainment services over WiFi. Supported service providers include O2, BT Openzone, iPass, Truphone and Skype on various handsets. In addition to its wholesale options, The Cloud also provides a range of low-cost unlimited access tariffs for consumers.
The Cloud offers sophisticated WiFi coverage at over 8,500 locations across Europe, including airports, hotels and railway stations throughout the UK, Germany, the Nordics and The Netherlands. The Cloud operates large scale networks in Canary Wharf, Amsterdam, Stuttgart and in 9 other UK cities including Manchester and Edinburgh.
Niall Murphy, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer of The Cloud, commented: "Metro WiFi networks are changing the face of towns and cities around the world for both public access and public sector applications. The City of London network is a global benchmark for cities and metro WiFi, and an exciting addition to The Cloud's network across the UK and our other city networks in Europe. Working with Nokia demonstrates the value these kinds of networks deliver for exciting and useful --internet everywhere-- access on the move."
Michael Snyder, Chairman of the City of London's Policy Committee, said: "The City of London is the world's leading financial and business centre and has always benefited from a world class communications infrastructure. It is therefore important that we provide the latest technology that will benefit those working in or visiting the City. The Square Mile is a fast-moving, dynamic environment and we are responding to the increasing time pressures faced by City workers by providing the technology for them to stay up to date, wherever they are in the City."
Simon Ainslie, GM of Nokia UK, concluded: "WiFi is at the forefront of mobile technology today and it is important for us to partner with the leading providers in the industry. Advanced WiFi of this kind will help consumers get the most from our WiFi enabled devices such as the Nokia N95, Nokia N800, Nokia E61i and Nokia E65."
(1) Free access during launch month will only be available on devices with browser capability.