In a multi-million pound project which it claims will be one of the ‘largest investments in wireless infrastructure ever seen in London’, the City of London Corporation has struck a deal for the delivery of a free, public access Wi-Fi network, offering internet access anywhere within the Square Mile. Cornerstone Telecommunications Infrastructure Ltd (CTIL), the joint venture between Vodafone Group and Telefonica, has been awarded the 15-year contract to roll out and manage the wireless network in conjunction with mobile network operator (MNO) O2 UK. Under the project, CTIL will construct 4G mobile small cells – which will be housed on street furniture such as lampposts, street signs and buildings – to provide enhanced mobile coverage at street level. Meanwhile, CTIL will partner with O2 UK in building the Wi-Fi network itself, which will be free for the public to use. The project will reportedly replace the current free Wi-Fi service provided by wireless network provider The Cloud, with the new infrastructure expected to be fully operational by autumn 2017.
Commenting on the planned rollout, Mark Boleat, chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Policy and Resources Committee said: ‘Free, reliable, high-speed wireless internet is a must for any modern, competitive financial centre. That is why I am thrilled to have CTIL deliver this essential project for the Square Mile. Soon, residents, visitors and workers in the City will be able to enjoy uninterrupted wireless connectivity, and this project should ensure that wireless ‘black spots’ in the Square Mile become a thing of the past.’