O2 and Cisco to launch City of London free wifi network

Cisco has been chosen as the kit partner for a new O2 free, public access wifi network in the City of London.

The companies are heralding the project as one of the largest investments in wireless infrastructure ever seen in London. It’s being done in conjunction with CTIL, which managed the Telefónica and Vodafone network sharing arrangement and the City of London Corporation. Apparently the network has the potential to be used by over 400,000 people.

The kit in question will be Cisco’s Aironet 1560 series, which is the latest outdoor access point tech, and which both companies hope will be viewed as one of the most advanced networks of its type.

“Free wifi connectivity is now a pre-requisite for any city looking to drive innovation and compete on a globe scale,” said Peter Karlstromer, SVP at Cisco. “The deployment with O2, and partnership with CTIL and the City of London, is a perfect example of the role that cities can play in connecting people. We are excited to continue to support the roll out of free wifi across London and ensure that next generation connectivity is accessible to everyone.”

“We’re pleased to be working with Cisco to support this initiative using its robust, speedy and seamless technology to create a wifi network and enable the capital to help retain its position as a leading global centre” said Derek McManus, COO of O2.

Ernest Doku of uSwitch seems concerned O2 and Cisco are focusing only on city-boy types. “Earlier this year O2 announced an £80 million investment in London’s small cell network in partnership with Cisco, and has today confirmed plans to deliver free public wifi to almost half a million workers in the City of London,” he said.

“While it’s great that this free wifi will improve connectivity in well-documented coverage black spots, mobile networks and broadband providers alike must stay focused on delivering reliable speeds and service to paying customers across the capital and the country as a whole.”

The City’s free wifi needs are currently served by The Cloud and when this network comes on line later this year it will take over. This is the latest phase of a public wifi partnership between O2 UK and Cisco, having started the relationship back in 2012.

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