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back to article First tube station to get Wi-Fi next week

Charing Cross will become the first London Underground station to offer wireless internet access from next week. BT Openzone will run a six-month trial in the ticket hall area and on Northern and Bakerloo line platforms. There won't be any access on trains. The service will be offered on the same basis as other BT Openzone …

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Grenade

Just what we need ...

Folks not paying attention when a big steel tube which can crush your body is hurtling towards the platform and Tarquin is too busy reading his email to notice he's fallen on the tracks. Great!

I would have thought "health & safety" should have thought of this?? Maybe that's a step too far.

Mines the one with the ticket outof here next week in the pocket, no seriously I've had enough of this crazy gin joint! /<rant>

With any luck it might clean out the gene pool ;-)

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Alert

Falling onto the tracks in the London Underground...

...little Tarquin would have a 33.33% (recurring) chance that the train is the least of his worries.

Warning sign because a few kilovolts can really ruin your day.

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Nerd alert

630 V DC, actually. Still make you jump about a bit, though!

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DC is a whole lot more nasty than AC...

...at the equivalent voltage.

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Boffin

Well, to be *really* pedantic...

+420V and -210V so the potential is 630V but that's splitting hairs, I suppose :)

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Oh What A Crazy World

Don't you think?

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HELLO???

I'M IN THE COMMENTS SECTION!

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FAIL

Fee-Paying Services Don't Count

BT OpenZone? A paid-for service? That doesn't count.

If you want free wi-fi I suggest Liverpool St station just by the entrance to the underground.. there's a provider there that is free (but I don't have the SSID name on the tip of my tongue).

BT OpenZone.. don't make me laugh.

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Hello?

I'm NOT on the train...

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Wow, paid wifi

It's a bit shameful for us when you go to a third world country and they have free wifi everywhere. Everywhere. Even restaurants and mosques and dinky little malls have free wifi.

In the UK, 'wifi available' simply means "We will now perform the magic trick of extracting money through your nose!" This may be down to a public perception. BT realizes that us chumps are perfectly willing to pay money to use wifi and so will not offer it for free. (Lack of consumer power?) Whereas in other places, the consumer is more important and so they do get wifi for free.

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Don't really understand.

Why on platforms? Crowded places with high-speed lumps of metal rushing past : wiser to stay alert to what is going on and not get absorbed in the un-real world.

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ringtones

Its bound to happen sooner or later

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_srsj1uHRsY

enjoy!

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Megaphone

HOLD ON...

I'M JUST GOING INTO A TUNNEL..

Seriously though, this should be free.

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Mr/Miss/Ms/Mrs/Reverend/General...

I'd like to propose a sweepstake; How long it will be before some oblivious moron staring intently at their Blackberry walks straight off the platform and onto the tracks?

I'm going with a fortnight.

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Title

Is there some alternative London Underground that you all go to while I have to use this crappy one every week day?

London Bridge Jubilee Line at 8:00 in the morning. 80% of people are reading Blackberry/iPhone/etc screens, books, Metroes or real newspapers.

Please remind me again why this is a uniquely bad idea?

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Old hat

Here in Madrid, they are putting WiFi in all the busses. It's already in over half of them, and it's free, as in beer (you have already paid for the ticket after all).

I don't see much benefit in saying that you can use WiFi in the station, but not on the trains, and you have to pay extra for it because yopu paid so little for the tube ticket.

England watch out! Spain used to be a bit behind the times, but it's going to over-take you if you're not careful!

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Anonymous Coward

Forgive my stupidity

But WIFI on a bus? Now granted some people may want to set up a network on the bus, for whatever reason. But how do you then connect the Wifi to the internet?

Surely you need to connect to a fixed telecoms line at some stage.

Or is there public wifi in Madrid anyway? in which case what's the point in installing extra hardware on a bus?

/confusion.

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Stop

Backhaul

How they do the back haul from the bus I don't know. In some ways I guess I should be interested, but to be honest I don't care how they do it. Just the fact that they offer free WiFi on the bus.

Oh and yes AC, the WiFi does connect you to the internet, just in the same way that your 3G dongle does, or your ADSL / leased line does. What would be the point of a WiFi AP not connected to anything?? Do you work at PC World?

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Anonymous Coward

No need to be rude

but WIFI isonly a short range frequency and doesn't constitute internet access by itself.

My question was, as per your first paragraph more succinctly put, how do you do the backhaul?

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On the busses

The long-distance busses that run from Cambridge to Oxford (and, no doubt, other destinations - I don't think they're special busses) offer free wi-fi. There's also free wi-fi on the double-deckers that are destined to run on the Cambridgeshire Guided Busway, if it ever gets completed.

I haven't tried either. If it's as good as wi-fi on a train then it's really crap. I have no idea how you do the backhaul, but this suggests that wi-fi on a bus is nothing special.

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WiFi on a bus??

Been doing that for awhile in Oulu. Kinda restrictive, usually it's just the #19 - Airport - City - Uni. Makes sense (first two places, anyway) Sometimes I get lucky and they change vehicles and I get the vehicle usually allocated for the Airport run, so I can browse for the 25 minutes I spend on the bus every morning. No worse than WiFi in the pub, surely?

Connection to the bus's Internet doo-dad is done by a new-fangled thingumajig I heard called "BEE JEEZ", or some such. Same technology that lets the internal bus display show what the next stop is called. I thought it, like the buses ran like clockwork, but it seems to use another odd thing called "Jee, Pee-ess". I think clockwork's better myself. Ask John Harrison*.

But then, I'm old and smell of wee-wee. What would I know...

*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Harrison

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Happy

The only difference in mobile back-haul and land-locked

service is that backbone services are fed to the mobile Access Point using Wimax or LTE - some Canadian rail systems use cell system fed InterNet.

Nothing complicated about it.

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Pint

In technologically advanced countries such as ...

Canada, China, the USA or even VietNam finding mobile WiFi, distinct from Wimax or LTE, is common on long haul buses or rail so people can use their time productively.

Usually there is no charge for these services in the Far East.

Just think Britain might do it, one day ....

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Anonymous Coward

In-bus wi-fi

Many of the bus and coach services in and out of Oxford have free wifi (ie paid for by your ticket) and have had for 2 or 3 years now. The backhaul is provided by Moovera (now Icomera, I think). It tends to work quite well, especially down the M40 to London (bar one small pocket where the Vodafone 3G it relies upon drops out). Good enough for casual browsing, a spot of email and skype calls.

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Yes, stupid you are

HSDPA/HSUPA, or even just UMTS/3G is just the trick to connect some local network to the Great Wide Internet when there's no suitable cabling around. These,and their predecessors have bene around for a good ten years, and are pretty ubiquitous nowadays.

But if you can't grok those newfangled technologies, just wait for the bus that trails a spool of telephone wire. Alternatively, trolleybuses may have Powernet installed.

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Anonymous Coward

Thank you Captain missed the f*ck!ng point

Then why not use Hsdpa/3g etc in the first place.

Pillock.

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Troll

@ Captain Missed the F*ck!ing point

Are you offering to buy all bus users in the london area Dongles?

Huweii called, their banker is standing by...

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I wouldn't worry

I wouldn't worry about fellow commuters making Skype calls - BT Openzone wifi is never fast enough.

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Why not free to all ?

Tube tickets are not cheap and could easily cover the cost of the small amount of web/... access that most people will do. What they have done is to favour BT as an ISP.

Over 1 billion tube journeys are made every year, average cost £2-£3. Take 1p off each journey and you have £10 million pounds to play with.

Ah, but by forcing you to register with BT the government spooks can follow us a bit more ......

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the usual rip-off

Looks like the usual British rip-off wi-fi that costs (per hour) many times what I pay for a high-speed wired connection at home. Airports in Eastern Europe: free wi-fi. British airports: rip-off. British hotels: usually rip-off (the big chains are the worst; independent ones usually include it in the room rate).

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Coat

Well mate,

'Rip off Britain Corporation' ain't a charity after all

Mine's my coat being pilfered by them for my money

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Wifi....like the internet only less secure

These days I am increasingly worried about rogue wireless hotspots. No way id use any wifi point for anything as its so easy to set one up an go slurping. Maybe we need certificates like Verisign for wifi that Joe Public can grasp.

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Always use VPN ...

... when you are not on your home network.

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WiFi? Really? Is that the most suitable technology?

The year is 2010 and we have some seriously powerful handsets and networking technology that would provide for a seamless service without logging in and pay-per-use for most activity.

My vote would be for an independent 3G/HSPA network to be set up on the underground that had inbound free roaming from the overground carriers (they still make money from the termination costs) and all outbound calls/SMS's earn a small fee (1p/min/msg?) that is re-billed to the host network. GPRS could be built in for free for non-www traffic (ie. email), and if people wanted browsing/streaming on the underground they could opt-in via reverse paid SMS with deals for weekly/monthly purchasing. There's all kinds of potential safety benefits in having a real network on the underground in terms of emergencies and crowd control.

All this technology is here, today - and comparatively inexpensive (the hardware is less than £5k/station for 3G and you could even throw in a 2G cell for under a grand as well!). We make such devices and all this is possible with relative ease. The only obstruction is the way the incumbents make everything take so long, and the reluctance from the bureaucrats to actually make a decision of any kind. WiFi is a lousy choice because it excludes convenience and the majority of handsets.

/rant :)

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Unhappy

@flingback

Should have added that those costs are realistically per platform and not per station! :)

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Already thought of

They have already proposed this. LU was going to set up it's own network to do it. Problem with the idea was that it was too hard for them.

Meanwhile here in Madrid, all networks work in all of the Metro (platforms and tunnels) and also work in the tunnels of the Cercanias (local trains), and there is no extra charge (just the normal rip-off network charge).

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Tell me this...

What self-important twazzock needs WiFi on a tube platform!?! What's the longest wait for the average train down there? Three minutes, four? What the feck do you need four minutes more access for?? How many digital eggs does one really need to boil, surely this money would be far better in BT's case, on the 21CN upgrade and in the Tube's case, much needed critical infrastructure work?

Fail, epic, epic fail :(

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Being in Yorkshire, I don't use the Tube much...

But do people actually hang around in the area they talk about long enough to make it worth having wifi there? It's a transit area. It'll clog up with people "checking their emails" aka watching kittens on YouTube.

OTOH I can see the point of having wifi on the trains themselves.

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Anonymous Coward

watching kittens on youtube

Kittens is almost right..... ;)

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WTF?

Just how sad and tragic can someone be...

.... that they can't go for a 30 min tube journey without having to check their emails or surf the web?

Instead of giving these poor people wifi perhaps some psychiatric sessions might be more useful

for them.

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Not sad or tragic, just bored

Try substituting "read a newspaper" for "check their emails or surf the web" in your post.

Unless you have a little Off switch on the side of your head (which seems probable in view of the lack of thought in your post), you're likely to want to fill your journey time in some way. Some people read papers, some read books, some listen to annoying personal music players. I don't see that accessing the internet is intrinsically worse than any of these.

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Exactly

I need to travel. I need to check my email. Might as well do both at once. The in-station thing, however, makes no sense.

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Wi-fi bombs

I don't like the idea of a bomb on the tube with an internet presence. Just as much a bad idea as enabllng mobile phones down there. There is a more restricted supply of suicide bombers than the other sort.

They'll spend a fortune on rolling this out, and then they'll have to turn it off. Please, spend the money on sorting out the trains and signals instead, so we can get to our destinations more reliably and with less chance of being blown to pieces by a madman.

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Rubbish

Teh Terrorists could just as easily use timing devices or human morons or mobile phones (in the many parts of the London Underground that are above ground/shallow/in trenches and there is reception).

There are good reasons why mobile phone coverage in the tube and in the air should be restricted (mostly to stop people doing my head in with their bloody inane conversations) but ZOMG TERRORISTS isn't one of them.

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Erm

Terrorists have been using Timebombs much longer than the Mobile Phone has been used by anyone.

Put yourself in the feet of John Q Terrorist of the Vulture liberation front:

On one hand, you've got the simple, time tested (no pun) cheap timebomb option. Set timer, push button, run (or given that we're already on the platform, catch train).

On the other hand, you've got a much more complicated Mobile phone detonation job. Your going to need some fancy pants electronics thats going to cost more. Once you get away, you've then got to worry about reception and signal issues, and if you're picking a particularlly busy day (as a member of the vulture liberation front, you probably are) the bomb's cell site being so conjested that your explode message goes straight to voicemail?

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Unhappy

I wouldnt worry about it

I've seen many "idiots" walk into walls and stuff whilst on their mobiles as I've seen idiots with personal hifi's and / or reading books (yes morning commuters walk along busy roads reading books!) just walk into the road in front of cars / busses....so walking off the platform whils reading emails is just part of the "cleaning" of the gene pool.

It'll be useful for the scholkids to better plan their steaming raids on the tube tho

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Happy

Anyone remember these???

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabbit_(telecommunications)

Their biggest pitch, if i recall correctly, was the ability to phone on the tube!!

Also, any equipment capable of using wifi is going to have a tidy resale value, with the advantage of a convenient getaway route...

My suggestion would be to have triage centres within 50 metres of the tube exits.

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Shocked

I don't live anywhere near London nor do I yet have a Smartphone (rectifying that next year) but I absolutely assumed that free WiFi was all over the capital and that included restaurants, hotels and the Underground (at least the stations).

I'm genuinely quite shocked to learn I was wrong.

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RIP OFF BRITAIN

Just come back from a developing world trip.

Bridges with escalators over the wide roads.

Free wifi everywhere in upmarket areas, just works, no need to type in email, password, postcode etc.. as with the UK's Clouds and Opened Zones. (Whatever they are.)

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Pint

Isn't the infrastructure great in the 'developing' world?

Remember the 'developed' nations were our test lab. And forget your 'upmarket' qualification - less free access there than other areas;

You checked the AMPS cell system, long haul telco carrier systems, etc., NTSC/PAL/SECAM TV signalling, and so on.

VietNam now has a 100% fibre network; we have remote villages with 12 Megabyte InterNet feeds to homes; digital signalling even to residential premises; 'city' and 7 national coverage cell radio systems; TV over radio in all major cities and Wimax/LTE countrywide. Farmers are now being fed crop wholesale prices, via cell phones, so they know the optimum time to pick crops. We even irradiate food exports to meet US demands.

South Korea is even more advanced with 100 Megabyte residential InterNet. advanced transportation tracking and reporting systems where bus shelter displays advise passengers of bus arrival times.

Little wonder Brits feel cheated when BT promises higher speed InterNet some year within the next decade. At least you can boast your sewers work better than ours do.

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