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Six Westminster Street Markets Get Free Gigabit Speed Wi-Fi

Thursday, April 8th, 2021 (9:33 am) - Score 864
wifi hotspot free internet

Six street markets in the London borough of Westminster, including Church Street and Berwick Street among others, claim to have deployed a new “superfast” public WiFi network to help local traders, customers and visitors get online via a “gigabit-speed outdoor wireless” broadband connection.

The “free-to-use” network, which has been deployed by wireless infrastructure-as-a-service provider Ontix, is now available across Church Street, Berwick Street, Strutton Ground, Tachbrook Street, Maida Hill and Rupert Street.

As usual with Wi-Fi, any claims of being able to deliver “gigabit-speeds” should be taken with a pinch of salt. In reality, issues of signal strength, end-user hardware limitations and shared network capacity will often conspire to significantly reduce what consumers can expect to receive in the real-world. Mixing superfast and gigabit terminology up in the same announcement also doesn’t help matters.

Otherwise, the service – part of an umbrella Wi-Fi network being deployed by Ontix throughout Westminster – will also include Passpoint™ connectivity, which streamlines network access in Wi-Fi hotspots and “eliminates the need for users to find and authenticate a network each time they connect, ensuring seamless network access and roaming between hotspots.”

This latest milestone implementation extends Ontix’s growing infrastructure footprint in Central London. Under an exclusive 10-year partnership with Westminster City Council inked in 2018, Ontix has been busy rolling out next-generation wireless services via street furniture assets across the borough, including its new Metrohaul neutral host backhaul network in Trafalgar Square, supporting 4G/5G, Wi-Fi, broadband and Smart City tech.

Debbie Jackson, Executive Director at Westminster City Council, said:

“Westminster City Council wants to provide every possible support for our businesses and local communities across our city, and the rollout of this Wi-Fi service is just one of the ways we are providing a digitalised springboard for our cherished street markets.

Businesses need an online presence more than ever and that includes market traders. By providing this next-generation Wi-Fi service and securing digital connectivity, this will allow traders to reach a new and wider audience of customers.”

Barney Dickinson, COO of Ontix, adds:

“By quickly and efficiently deploying gigabit-performance wireless connectivity to these and other key areas, Ontix is playing a crucial role in enabling businesses, residents and visitors to stay connected, to keep trading, and to build vibrant, engaged and digitally inclusive communities going forward.”

Last year, Ontix delivered the first Passpoint™ Hotspot 2.0 Wi-Fi network in Central London, offering consumers enhanced connectivity and seamless roaming across London’s iconic landmark Trafalgar Square. The first-of-its-kind public Wi-Fi service is running alongside its existing small cell wireless network, and extension is now underway to other notspots across the wider Westminster borough.

The Wi-Fi is part of the wider Digital Street Markets Project which is jointly funded by Westminster City Council and the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

Leave a Comment
3 Responses
  1. Bubbles says:

    We have free wifi all round keighely at the expense of it being 2Mbps and filled with hackers and druggies trying to steal your info 🙂

  2. NW London Person says:

    Usual nonsense from a council. ‘Free wifi’ is hyped – in places where cellular coverage is already available.

    About the only place where ‘free wifi’ is useful is where cellular coverage is non existent – London Underground.

  3. DaveIsRight says:

    I am so confused.

    What is the benefit of this? Why spend money on doing this in an area that already has a massive oversubscription of mobile and fixed provision? Who in the hell needs a Wifi connection when they’re at an open air market? What “benefit” is there to me, as a shopper, to having free wifi on my phone? What is the use case?

    The only possible use I can think of that’s of any benefit to the traders is the connection of contactless card terminals for bank authorization. But that’s easy to do over cellular, especially in an area with excellent cellular access. Other than that what a complete waste of money – much like those ridiculous fixed Internet terminals they had dotted all over London where the keyboards were urinated and spat on and were vandalized within months.

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