That free high speed wifi is now a crucial factor in defining competitiveness should not be lost on any metropolis - or the enterprises located in them. JL
Nic Fildes reports in The Financial Times:
Vodafone and O2 will install small cells on lampposts, street signs and CCTV cameras to flood the City with faster wifi.The new network will offer gigabit speeds capable of providing video calling and streaming services. The new network would offer faster speeds and capacity than those available in New York and other financial centres. Research said 5G could add more than £7bn a year to the economy by 2026.
The Square Mile is preparing to upgrade its public wifi and intends to move to a 5G service as soon as it is available. The City of London Corporation has awarded a multimillion-pound contract to Cornerstone, the masts company jointly owned by Vodafone and O2, which will install small cells on lampposts, street signs and CCTV cameras to flood the City with faster wifi.The new network will offer gigabit speeds capable of providing video calling and streaming services. Cornerstone will work with O2 on the upgrade, which will replace an existing but increasingly unreliable service provided by The Cloud, the public wifi pioneer now owned by Sky. People wanting to use the network will need to register but the service will be free. The City of London said the small-cell network would initially operate over 4G but that it would position the area as an “early adopter” of faster 5G technology when it becomes commercially available, possibly in 2020. It added that the new network would offer faster speeds and capacity than those available in New York and other financial centres. Mark Boleat, head of the City of London Corporation’s policy and resources committee, said: “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.”Derek McManus, O2’s chief operating officer, said connectivity was vital for economic growth and cited research that said the introduction of 5G could add more than £7bn a year to the economy by 2026. The corporation said it was also trying to speed up adoption of superfast broadband in the Square Mile by standardising the planning process. O2’s former chief executive warned last year that Britain was in danger of being left behind in the race to 5G because of outdated planning laws and “analogue” policy thinking.A launch of 5G could also be delayed by litigation if a sale of the airwaves needed to carry mobile phone signals is pushed back further as telecoms companies argue over the terms of the deal.