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back to article London Underground platform Wi-Fi set to cost £2 daily for many

Virgin's underground Wi-Fi network, which stretches to platforms at 72 London Tube stations, will start charging from January: but customers on the right network will continue to get a free ride. EE and Vodafone have signed up to have Virgin connect their customers for free, with Virgin Media customers (broadband and/or mobile) …

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How much?

At £2 per day, for the 15 minutes per day the average visitor to London probably spends on Tube platforms, I really don't think they'll be getting many people buying.

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Re: How much?

Well, exactly. Once you're out of the station you can go back to using your 3G or LTE signal for SFA, or visit any one of a number of places with free wifi. Not exactly compelling. But it is nice for those on Something Sometimes!

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Meh

Re: How much?

15 minutes per day on a Tube platform? I'd be amazed if it were 5 on an average day.

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Anonymous Coward

"15 minutes per day on a Tube platform? I'd be amazed if it were 5 on an average day."

You don't travel on the Norther Line then. Spending only 5 minutes waiting on the platform for a train is just a dream.

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Re: How much?

Never forget that there's one born every minute and they all have a fascination with shiny

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Anonymous Coward

"You don't travel on the Norther Line then. Spending only 5 minutes waiting on the platform for a train is just a dream."

15 minutes you say? That'll make for one very black handkerchief by the end of the day.

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Meh

Re: How much?

I'd agree, but at peak hours when you have to wait for three trains to pass through before being squashed inside yourself, even the platforms are so crowded there's no room to look at a handheld device whilst waiting.

I've often thought of using the wifi (off peak, when you can move your arms) to try and make some Skype calls, just to p*** off the mobe addicts who haven't thought of that, but I'm never around for long enough to justify such shameless and w***er-ish showing off.

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I find it most useful for collecting and sending email from the train, which it can do in the few seconds the train in passing through a wifi connected station, rather than for browsing, which as you say, you don't really have time for.

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Bronze badge

Re: make some Skype calls, just to p*** off the mobe addicts

I quite often use my Symbian phone to make sip calls just for the same reason (and because it's free). (On a good day it logs in automatically in a few seconds).

Skype isn't quick enough for the time available.

If they have some lame web based login screen (like wetherspoons have) then it would be completely useless, rather than just fatally overpriced.

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Re: How much?

If you are a tourist criss-crossing the sights, it might be useful to check the tourist websites.

But not for the average commuter.

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Anonymous Coward

In Vienna, mobile access is available FREE on the Metro system - and in works continuously, not just in stations.

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Size is important

Vienna Metro is about 40 miles long, the Tube is about 250 miles, so its harder to implement. Also much of the Tube is over 140+ years old, making it much harder to retro fit all sorts of stuff.

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Bronze badge

Re: Size is important

It's not just the size, it's the massive overmanning you have to pay for thanks to the tube unions. All work needs two safety qualifications. They ensure than no-one who does any work has either of them so they have to be accompanied by someone who does. And no-one has both, so for each job you need two safety supervisors. It really does take three people to change a light bulb.

It gets worse, all jobs have to be done out of hours so everyone is on overtime, then there are working practices which means there are generous travel allowances which see people getting paid for travelling they may or may not do,

A job performed on the London underground typically costs eleven times as much as it would in a similar non-London metro.

This is part of the reason why "connect", the tetra radio system took twelve years to install a three year project.

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Re: Size is important

Job description: Network installation engineer

Location: London

Requirements: Experience of large scale projects desirable; knowledge of public WiFi installation desirable; PTS essential; COSS desirable.

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Re: Size is important

"It gets worse, all jobs have to be done out of hours "

There's a good reason for that - in the deep level single bore tunnels there's nowhere for contractors to move to safety when a train comes unlike in the shallow cut and cover tunnels so they can't just step aside like they can on other systems. Either they suspend the train service to allow them to work or they work after hours.

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Holmes

Simon Rockman - Re: Size is important

I used to work for the underground as an engineer and don't recognise most of what you claim. Have you a reference for this 11x cost? And I know it was a figure of speech, but "ALL" work?!

Yes, work in the narrow bore tube tunnels and >major< track work elswhere must be done out of hours for obvious reasons, but the vast majority of work is done in normal hours. I rarely worked out of hours, and putting WiFi into stations would not need to be out of hours either.

"there are generous travel allowances which see people getting paid for travelling they may or may not do"

As a test engineer I had a all-lines pass as part of my job. Would you expect their own workers to pay for a ticket to get to the work site? Perhaps you think the train drivers should buy tickets for their rides too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simon Rockman - Size is important@Nuke

"Perhaps you think the train drivers should buy tickets for their rides too."

Personally I'd settle for the ****ers just turning up for work.

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Re: Size is important

Vienna has (say) one tenth of the passengers then.

Obviously not important enough to have WiFi on it's infrastructure.

Oh, it has?

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TRT
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There are several glaring omissions from the coverage...

Bank/Monument for one. Huge interchange, several lines, no WiFi.

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Pay for wifi access? How quaint and 1990's.

To be honest, I don't pay for Wifi when I'm up in the Highlands, with no 3G or any other sort of connectivity, and the local pub is the only place that offers it, and it's a reasonable charge and a good pub. Because five minutes away there will be free, legitimate Wifi if I really want it and there's nothing on the Internet so vital that I have to have it then.

I certainly wouldn't be paying for it in the middle of London when I'm just minutes away from complete 3G access that I've already paid for. And certainly not £2 a day.

Next you'll be telling me they will supplement their income by inserting their advertising on the pages you download, like back-in-the-day.

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Pint

quaint?

If I were in the Highlands, and there was a pub nearby, the presence or otherwise of WiFi would be the last thing I'd be worried about.

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Pointless

I'd say my average wait for a tube train is less than two minutes. Hardly enough time to even log on.

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JDX
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Re: Pointless

The only place it would be useful is on the train, which is the one place it won't be possible anytime soon.

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Re: Pointless

Seconded, which is probably why you never, ever see anyone who's obviously using it. And for crying out loud, the last thing you want to do is encourage people to hang around the station tunnels and platforms even longer clogging the place up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pointless

Indeed - I rarely get beyond the Virgin sign in page before my train has arrived.

I don't know how they're expecting people to buy a £2 day pass for this but by the time you've gone through the process, you'll have about 6 seconds to use it.

More Boris lunacy.

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Re: Pointless

I think you will find it logs you on just long enough to disrupt your 3g and present you with "page not found" when you surface. That's what happens at the main line stations.

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Doesn't work anyway

I saw the sign on the platform advertising free wi-fi so tried refreshing some app I had open but it kept saying no connectivity. Turns out you first have to try to use your browser which will then redirect you to a sign-up page. There were far too many fields to fill in easily with fiddly phone keyboard and then guess what my train arrived.

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Re: Doesn't work anyway

@Joe Harrison you only have to do that once, and then it seems to "just work" after that. I did it once on my nexus 7, and it seems to pick up emails and so on when I go through a station with it without me doing anything now.

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Pirate

Useless

It's just about useful now when it's free. But only barely.

I would pay £5 a year for it, but no more than that.

Clearly it will be a service for those with a suitable account already and useless for the rest of us at that price.

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Unhappy

It's *complementary*

It's not free.

One way or another you *will* pay for it.

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Headmaster

Re: It's *complementary*

It may indeed be complementary to the existing mobile connectivity available in London.

it's also currently complimentary, i.e. provided free of charge.

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Silver badge

Re: It's *complementary*

I once pointed out that exact same spelling error in the brochure for a large school and sixth form college. Apparently the facilities they had were "complimentary" to your child's education (I can only think that the computers must tell the pupils how well they are doing, etc.).

Shame that by that time it had already gone through several rounds of proofreading, through the English department and head of English for verification, and then some very costly glossy printing of thousands of copies. And then they still tried to argue that it wasn't a mistake, basically because I was only a lowly IT technician at that point and they wanted the English department to save face.

When you have to get out a dictionary to prove your point to the Head of English, in a school, you know it's time to move on...

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Pint

Re: It's *complementary*

"When you have to get out a dictionary to prove your point to the Head of English, in a school, you know it's time to move on..."

Being right is not remotely coincident with being popular; In fact it looks like some sort of universal constant, that being right makes you unpopular. But here's a glass to all of us who enjoy being the little boy questioning the emperor's apparel, for what little good it usually does us.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's *complementary*

That's nothing. Our college received a catalogue from an organisation providing support materials for tutors working with dyslexics. All the paper based stuff was in the section headed "Stationary".

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's *complementary*

I work at a school, and if I pocketed a pound every time I saw a terrible error, I would be rich. By the staff, of course. If you included students, you'd be drowning in money.

I'm referring to simple mistakes, such as incorrect use of apostrophes, misspellings - such as "stationary" where "stationery" was the desired meaning - and so on. Absolutely pathetic, and I don't think you can trust teachers to meaningfully demonstrate an accurate command of English.

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Vodafone Customers Get it "Free"

I also get free access to Bt Wifi/Openzone with Vodafone. However, my login stopped working about 6 months ago and despite several complaints they have never fixed it. Won't hold my breath for this one!

The only use I've found for the wifi so far though is receiving iMessages while underground but that is a very minor benefit. I don't see why you'd need it otherwise. By the time you connect either your train has arrived or pulled into the tunnel if you are already on board.

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Anonymous Coward

Wouldn't pay for it but as it is free I do use it

Get news articles / emails on the platform to read on the train.

Never wished I had it when it wasn't there and wouldn't miss it if it went.

I suppose once or twice a year it might be useful to be able to email work when tube problems mean I'll be late which is something one often doesn't know about until one is underground.

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Happy

The way some people are posting

implies that you're only able to use it whilst waiting for a train.

Shirley, when the train you're on pulls into a station you can use it then too? A cheeky email retrieval/article download.

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No chance, the splash screen is annoying enough when you don't have to log in.

It'll be as useful as TheCloud once you've got to log in every station or so...

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WTF?

Walled Garden?

"There will be a free service, available to all, but that will lead only to a walled garden maintained by Transport for London."

So whats that going to have, a webpage saying "All our services are fine , don't worry , the train will be along in its own time, relaaaaaxxx...." along with some new age chill out music?

Or more likely just a picture of Bob Crow giving us the finger.

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Re: Walled Garden?

Only paying customers get the lemon soaked paper napkins

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Re: Walled Garden?

And you have to wait just as long for them to be restocked.

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WTF?

err, what?

£40 a month to have network access at your stop and then just enough to time to reconnect as you pull out of every subsequent station on the way to work? It has it's uses, but at that price they are just dreaming.

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FAIL

Pointless

I'm signed into this (for free) on my daily commute from the Dwart to the Loo. For the 30 seconds my tube stops at each station my phone barely has time to find the signal, connect, upload/download email/twitter/fb/ junk/whatever before we're off and down the black hole again. Frankly it is unbelievably pointless for free. For £2/day it will be a joke.

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Its the same on the trains

On my commute on virgin trains, I'd really find wifi quite useful for the 100 minutes or so a day I spend on their trains. But it costs £40 per month and I'm not paying that for for something I'd use for maybe a few minutes to check emails, read a couple of web pages mostly.

If it was £10 a month I'd consider it, but at £40 I can't imagine anyone paying for it themselves uses it.

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Happy

Re: Its the same on the trains

"On my commute on virgin trains, I'd really find wifi quite useful for the 100 minutes or so a day I spend on their trains. "

Chiltern offer it for free to all passengers, and it even works most of the time, as well as being sixty quid cheaper for a peak fare into London. Obviously only of use if you can use the line into Marylebone, but if not, we'll spare you a thought.....

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