When Virgin Media announced free WiFi coming to the London Underground, a lot of people buzzed it off. Two years later, the Internet service provider has hit 150 connected tube stations, all offering free WiFi to registered users.
This is one of the largest connected WiFi lines and demonstrates the UK’s prominence when it comes to free public WiFi, with plenty of public areas now offering WiFi to registered users.
Virgin Media partnered up with EE, Vodafone, 02 and Three to offer WiFi service on all major carriers. Virgin’s own mobile service works with the public WiFi, allowing low-end users on Virgin Mobile to grab a taste of free WiFi.
The effort has not been in vein either, with 2.5 million users registered for the free WiFi service. Virgin Media claims over three terabytes of data are downloaded each day from the network, showing users are active while waiting for the train.
Speeds on the Underground differ from station to station, but Virgin Media has been looking to hit at least 10Mbps. Carrier data speeds in the London Underground are pathetic, due to train network being underground, making it even more useful to have free public WiFi.
The latest stations to get the free public WiFi are Wimbledon, Richmond, Morden, East Ham, Barking and Upminster. Virgin Media is looking to connect all tube stations before 2016 and may move on to other city stations in the future.
Virgin Media currently offers the fastest broadband in the UK at 150Mbps, with Sky and BT incapable of getting past 100Mbps. BT recently got into trouble for handing over data to GCHQ, the British intelligence wing – Virgin Media has not commented on whether they hand over information to the government agency.