London becomes Europe's largest Wi-Fi hotspot

Soho, Barbican and the City of London will be covered by The Cloud's network, adding to the Upper Street, Southwark and River Thames areas that are already covered (picture credit: Evening Standard)

London is to become the biggest Wi-Fi hotspot in Europe when 350,000 city workers are given public wireless internet access. Next week, work will start on installing 130 base stations all around the City of London to offer public wireless internet connections. The stations will be dotted around the area in a mesh networking set-up which will span the entire Square Mile area of the capital.

Wi-Fi firm The Cloud will work together with local councils to extend the wireless network; when the work is completed London will have the largest Wi-Fi hotspot in Europe.

The cost of unlimited access of the network will be set at around £12 per month. Initially the connection will only cover the central London areas of Soho, the Barbican and the City of London, but there are plans to extend the zone across the capital.

"This is the biggest hotspot of its kind in Europe as far as we know, and is unique as users keep the signal wherever they are," said Niall Murphy, chief strategy officer at The Cloud.

"We have been meeting a lot of the big financial institutions in the area and have even found that the network is available in a lot of their boardrooms, so we think there will be a corporate use for it as well," Murphy added.

The network could be used to support CCTV systems and traffic surveillance, according to The Cloud. Last month, a scheme to cover the banks of the River Thames with Wi-Fi was announced.