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back to article Virgin Media hangs from traffic lights, hands out free Wi-Fi to Brummies

Virgin Media plans to get mobile operators to pay for free Birmingham-wide Wi-Fi in a deal which could see every traffic light in the city turned unto a 4G cell base station. The free Wi-Fi is set to go live in September, and comes as part of the government's Super Connected Cities Digital Birmingham's Smart City initiative*. …

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Bronze badge

Limit the speed...

Frankly when in the centre of $CITY I can't see a need for a free super high speed connection - even iPlayer will run over a Mb or so IIRC.

Else if I lived in B'Ham - why would I have a fixed line, or a (virgin) broadband connection, at all?

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Bronze badge

Re: Limit the speed...

Because some people come to Birmingham to visit and also, say, run a business and may need to check something on a netbook urgently. Thats just one example, im sure people from many walks of life can think of reasons why a high speed connection in the centre of a city outside of an office would be useful.

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That's what those antennae are for then,

I thought the council had put stuff in to monitor traffic flows (and modify traffic light timings etc) while the Queensway tunnels are closed.

Ho-hum, I suppose that's all rather too difficult compared to issuing a press release saying "Hurrr use teh bus lol".

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Holmes

Massive conflict of interest

Safeguards need to be put in place to prevent that massive conflict of interest Virgin Media would have providing free WiFi and taking a cut out of cellular. Have Birmingham City council even consider this?

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Terminator

Re: Massive conflict of interest

"and the city council gets a cut of the revenue from the network operators too"

I'd say they have definitely considered this massive conflict of interest and ensured their wallets are on the right side of it!

Ka-Ching!

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Silver badge

Digital Birmingham

I preferred the more mellow sounds of the older Analogue Birmingham

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Big Brother

Colour Me Curious

I wonder what the privacy policy will say about tracking your location? Even if you deny the network access to the onboard GPS info then density of hotspots still narrows your position down to a particular street corner.

Sods law also suggests that when every traffic light has an internet connection, somebody will say...

"why don't we put CCTV or APNR on them as well?"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Colour Me Curious

I wonder what the privacy policy will say about tracking your location?

It's not just location. Their MX record is below:

;; QUESTION SECTION:

;virginmedia.com. IN MX

;; ANSWER SECTION:

virginmedia.com. 3600 IN MX 5 alt2.aspmx.l.google.com.

virginmedia.com. 3600 IN MX 5 alt1.aspmx.l.google.com.

virginmedia.com. 3600 IN MX 1 aspmx.l.google.com.

virginmedia.com. 3600 IN MX 10 aspmx3.googlemail.com.

virginmedia.com. 3600 IN MX 10 aspmx2.googlemail.com.

Clearly not suitable for the paranoid amongst us, aka those pesky people that keep banging on about their right to privacy...

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FAIL

Re: Colour Me Curious

There is nothing weird here. All the major ISPs outsource their email. It doesn't mean they share anything else. Sky and BT use YahooMail. Sky used to be Google as well until they migrated earlier this year.

Virgin mail is just a re-skinned Gmail.

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Silver badge

It's not free

It's never free. To use this, you either have to be a virgin customer, and tell them which one you are, or provide some other personal bit of information, like a mobile phone number. Virgin receive value from collecting this data, and this is paying for it.

I also like how they will add a 4G base station hooked up to fibre throughout most of the city, but will only be providing wifi (the carrot) in some undefined "city centre" location.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's not free

you either have to be a virgin customer

Yes, that's indeed a challenge to start with. "Are you a virgin?" may severely limit the available client base..

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great

maybe they will sit up and take notice when the mobile operators start talking about ping time and jitter when writing up the SLA, because god knows they haven't given a flying fuck when their customers have complained over the last decade.

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