British cableco Virgin Media has confirmed that it has inaugurated Wi-Fi services at another 20 London Underground stations, bringing the total at which the currently-free wireless broadband service is available to 92. While the operator now looks set to miss its initial coverage target – it had previously said it was aiming for 120 stations covered by end-2012 – it has reiterated that it aims to deploy Wi-Fi at a further 28 stations in early 2013. Further, Virgin Media has confirmed that more than 800,000 people have now registered with Virgin Media Wi-Fi.
Originally the cableco had indicated that it would begin charging for the service after the end of London Olympic Games, but it subsequently announced in October 2012 that it would continue providing free access to the Wi-Fi infrastructure until the end of the year. Alongside its latest coverage expansion announcement, Virgin Media has now confirmed the expected costs for the service when it does start charging, with a daily pay-as-you-go pass to cost GBP2 (USD3.21), while weekly and monthly passes will cost GBP5 and GBP15 respectively. Despite its intention to start charging, Virgin Media claims the service will remain free for the majority of London Underground users, following last month’s announcement t that it had signed up mobile network operators EE and Vodafone UK as wholesale partners for the Wi-Fi service; under the terms of the deal customers of the two cellcos will gain access to the Wi-Fi network at no additional cost. According to Virgin Media, ‘Virgin Media broadband and mobile subscribers, EE and Vodafone customers represent approximately 76% of consumers in Greater London’.