The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has today promised that London will be covered in Wi-Fi by the 2012 Olympic Games.
The pledge came at the Google Zeitgeist event held in Hertfordshire, where he said that “every lampost and every bus stop will one day very soon, and before the 2012 Olympics, be Wi-Fi enabled.”
He even went so far as to say that this is only part of the process, and that City Hall planned to make London the technology capital of the world. He said that Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the internet, was a Londoner and “so we claim paternity of the internet”. “London is the home of technology innovation,” he added, saying that the most important project they are planning is called Wifi London.
This new plan will involve installing wi-fi hotspots into street lights and bus stops, which will use the existing electrical supply for those services. Considering how many street lights and bus stops there are around London this would mean thousands of new Wi-Fi hotspots will be popping up. If we couple that with existing ones in cafes and other areas it may mean that you can walk from one end of London to another without ever having to rely on your 3G network for an internet connection.
22 of the 32 Greater London boroughs have already signed up to the scheme, which means the process is already well under way. If Johnson can convince the other ten to sign up, which shouldn’t be that difficult, then his promise may indeed become a reality.
Not only will this allow people walking the streets to access the wi-fi connections, but it will also allow local homes access too. This will most likely require some sort of payment, however, but may be significantly cheaper than current packages offered through internet service providers.
The Major also revealed his plans to be more transparent with City Hall data by uploading it all to the website. He said that as part of the process of promoting technology in London they will put the information in the public domain.
Since this announcement came at a Google-hosted event, it was only fitting that Johnson close with a few words of praise for the technology giant: “It’s thanks to Google that all of us sentient adults spend so much of our lives grazing absently like ruminants on this vast Serengeti of information.”
But then, it’s not Boris’ way to tackle these things with subtlety.