back to article Mayor Boris wants 'WiFi London'

London should become a "WiFi city," Mayor Boris Johnson told a local radio station Tuesday morning. Speaking to BBC London 94.9, Johnson said he envisions providing every Londoner with access to the web. The comment was in response to Prime Minister Gordon Brown's £300m re-announced proposal to provide computers and cheap …


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Sceptical Bastard


As he has demonstrated in the past, take away his advisors and this tousle-haired toff is utterly clueless about IT.

Red Ken may have been a hated menace but how Johnson got elected is a mystery. You can fool most of the people...

Anonymous Coward

Boris, you need to get better informed try here

Boris, you need to get better informed try here

as you can see London IS the worlds No.1 in the wireless Mobile Broadband Index doh!

its about time Manchester and its massive south manchester Airport and area got some free wireless and community corporate based Wimax and Co-Location sites.

you and your 3rd party finance houses collecting down south can take it and expand it from the fledgling WiMax company startup Manchester UK "FREEDOM4",1000000085,39353041,00.htm

and make south Manchester the UKs major Hub for all the UKs future wireless innovations and tech houses into the Uks main Co-location site for massive long term growth and cash flow you might make there if you and the banks have some balls to try.

hell you or brown even have my blessing to totally demolish the massive wythenshaw areas (largest garden city in europe at one time) central manchester town planning screwed up wythenshawe civic centre and start again from scratch.

seling off school and surounding shopping centers and selling off to private housing corps for yet more houses we didnt need wasnt a good move on the labour councils docket, but demolishing the crappy 1970s civic center shopping and crap re-developments taking place right now would be a blessing in the long term, and you could slapp up brand new computer data centers and related wireless infrastructure for the long term future and good of all residents and the country as the whole, so do it and make your personal profits in manchester by building this central Uk wide HUB.

dave lawless

yummy, can't wait

Come on Boris, hurry up and paint that elephant white so we can do some anonymous crimes.

Hein Behrens


Here in Barcelona they have free wifi anonymously for half an hour a day at all council premises.

The libraries give you fast free wifi access with free electricity if you have a library card for as long as you need it. The libraries are full of people using it as their offices.

Simon Painter
Thumb Up

Municipal wifi

Municipal wifi would be ace for London. Throttle it to something like a half megabit (so that people who want faster connections still have an incentive to pay for home broadband or faster wifi from commercial sources) and use the existing municipal infrastructure of bus shelters, phone boxes, street lights etc to deliver the hotspots.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward


"He suggested the project began in Stratford"

I don't live in London (just outside, in Buckinghamshire) but I'm sick to sodding death of the bloody Olympics already.

London is bigger than Stratford, and other stuff is more important than the Olympics! Get a grip man!

Yes I know its good to bring nations together for sport yardy yardy yar... but how we can justify spending 12.8 gazillion quid on the Games when we have a failed NHS, 40 kids-per-class in schools and an Armed Forces on the verge of mass exodus - is beyond me!!!


Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Why not?

Dublin already has city-wide free wireless connectivity.

In this day and age I would think it is something that should be expected.

Martin Saunders
Thumb Down

Coverage isn't that great

I was sitting very near the middle of the city (on the junction of Cornhill and Threadneedle St), and was surprised to see only 3 wifi access points, only one of which was public (the cloud), which wasn't working.

Sure it's a built up area, but even so, that's a pretty busy part of London...



Surely if we're going to have a national hub in response to something BJ has said we should base it in Liverpool.

Dan Wilkinson

@ "No 1 already" comments

Reminds me of the quote "I'm already number 1, so why try harder?"...

I'm sure it can be improved, there's vast commercial coverage but unless you have deep enough pockets to pay for access at T-Mobile/Cloud/BT hotspots then you might not have access to your provider from anywhere near anough places.

I like the above idea of providing a basic (256k would be fine for me) free service to all an sundry form everywhere - that would allow people to get to the net for email and such at acceptable speeds, and then charge for high speed access.

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

@Greg Fleming

Dublin has free wi-fi? Where? and who provides?


Free broadband?

This is just what the dolies have been waiting for! Telecommute to america, keep your money in a paypal account and claim all the benefits you can from here!

Phill Holland

muppet time

quote Sceptical Bastard;

"As he has demonstrated in the past, take away his advisors and this tousle-haired toff is utterly clueless about IT."

Surely now you don't expect your politicians to be experts in every field they need to make a choice about. The best I can hope from my politicians is that don't pick muppets as their advisors. Muppets taking advise from muppets, yes I know how that sounds. I was very skeptical about Boris when he became mayor, I still am; but at least hes trying to do something positive, rather than using negative reenforcement to change things for the better.

having wireless access everywhere in london will be a tough trick to pull off...

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Wi-fi at BT HQ

I did a contract for a 3rd party working at BT's city HQ, and due to BT's internal policy we could only use their wi-fi public access points, however they do have them throughout their own building.

Thumbs up to BT for keeping dodgy third parties out of their own network, but on the day i had to launch the website, BT's wi-fi was down, so i grabbed the laptop and headed over the road to Star bucks and used their t-mobile connection (using BT credits) and all went well.

I found this very amusing but also reassuring as the BT wifi access credits had no problem using t-mobile.

To Boris and Gordon, most people who want access to internet can get it some way.

People like the carphonewhorehouse are onto something giving cheap laptops with 3g deals.

The market has passed you by with your outdated and no longer relevant attempts at IT literacy.

Colin Millar

Who is going to pay for all this free stuff?

I'd have thought people on here would know better than to throw around the word 'Free' like a comms co throws around 'unlimited'.

If by free you mean I as a tax payer/council tax payer should pay for it then please say so.

Municipal wifi is not going to work. It would be paid for by government, therefore it would be specced by government. That is the definition of FAIL.

Anonymous Coward

south Manchester and Liverpool as fallover/overflow


By Rockandrollsuicide Posted Wednesday 24th September 2008 09:28 GMT

Surely if we're going to have a national hub in response to something BJ has said we should base it in Liverpool."

not really , liverpool is not really any better than london near the bottom right edge of the county, any more than dundee al the way up there ,not forgetting that place on the right everyone forgets hmm whats it called ....... ohh yea grimsby

sure some people are going to say what about sheffield but their only good for hammering steel, AND FORGET ABOUT LEEDS, we all know why they are not suited to innovation for a long term real _central_ Uk wide out, full of confusing tech ;)

only Manchester, and south Manchester at that, is good enough, we are on virtually a direct line of sight east of you liverpool lads and we always did share our industrial greatness and job markets with you lot,so no worrys there..

you can have some of the high income UK TV digital houses relocating in our area's put in some backup/fallover/overflow Co-Location sites etc,and get some of the banking houses back near you as it used to be when we both made Britain Great the first time around, OK ;)

and dont forget Manchester has the Wimax startup in place already, does liverpool have any wireless WiMax,Point to point high bandwidth microwave and Co-Location sites or do you any have Virgin Media cable supplying you from the south Manchester Babuley cable fibre today.

see, theres another point the core VM fibre supplying to the NW already runs from the Wythenshaw /Baguley area, at least in part so your BB is bouncing from liverpool to london, back up to south Manchester/Baguley and back over to liverpool....

its clear,south Manchester is a very good first place for my Uk wide Central WiMax related wireless hub and takes nothing away from London as they already are No1 in the world chart for the older wifi, make it happen, i dont care who does it, just do it ASAP and make your UK based money there and keep it in the country, OFCOM im looking aty ou and your international selloff of the UK analogue wireless spectrum to non UK companys.


@Greg Fleming

Good for Dublin. However:

Dublin 44sq miles Pop:Just over 1 Million.

London 609sq miles Pop: About 13 Million.

You see the problem with your comparison?

Ivan Headache

@ Austin & popper

Statistics are one thing - but in my practical experience, London isn't well covered.

Silver badge

Who is talking about Manchester?

If you want wifi in Manchester, perhaps you should badger Richard Leese? What Boris says is for London, not for the UK...

There are a few 'free' hotspots in London, the City provide one through The Cloud, which is handy. It's not ubiquitous, even within the confines of the square mile. In rundown, residential areas like Stratford (I live there, so I can say that), there is pretty much nothing. BoJo is talking about providing a ubiquitous service for all.

Tim Croydon

Way down list of priorities

This only really benefits people who can afford portable wifi devices. And I'm sure most of those will have access to hotspots. If anything is that urgent, it's never too far to an access point in London.

I would much rather see my taxes go towards things that will save money somehow and make a real difference to my life, e.g. better transport, better public information websites, better NHS etc.

This is yet another headline-grabbing story rather than real politics. Boris, if you're listening, please concentrate on sorting out the kids on street corners and tidying up London.

Alex C

@ Sceptical Bastard

To be fair a politician who listens to IT advisers in the first place is a rare thing.

A mate was on the Parliamentary IT advice panel (can't remember it's name, but they hold regular talks & meetings in the houses of Parliament to inform the vote-grabbers there about the IT issues of the day.) The only people who ever turned up were the Lords.

Given the percentage of Gordon's PCs that are destined to be sold/stolen is fairly high, and that local council tax payers will end up stumping up for this shambles in any event, whose to say that wifi for all in London isn't a nice egalitarian way of achieving nearly the same goal?

Anonymous Coward
Anonymous Coward

Socialism vs capitalism

Funny how in times of trouble Labour have fallen back to the old party line of "helping the people" and doing their socialist bit for the needy with free laptops (albeit probably cheap crap that breaks down with two years). In comparison good'ol Boris fell back to the capitalist Conservative line of wanting something that will only really benefit the rich.

Most londoners don't have wifi enabled PDA's and are unlikely to pull out a laptop in a tube station or a street bench for a quick browse (or even own a laptop with enough juice in the batteries for more than 30 mins). A few well provided for employees of multinationals might benefit, yeah, sure, agreed.

The lucky ones (aka : the well paid teckies and buisness folks) will be using their blackberries and XDA's while the rest of the population are busy fiddling with iPods & other phones.

Ah sod it, I've got a pain-in-the-ass-email-is-always-chasing-me blackberry in my pocket and a decent laptop as well so Boris, please go for it, waste that cash.

Matt Bryant
Silver badge

RE: @ "No 1 already" comments

Wasn't there a BT service wherebye you sign up to allow other BT Openzone wifi users to grab a secure 256k pipe off your wifi access point (a VPN?) when they're in your area, and you in return can do the same for all other BT wifi access points that have signed up? I can't remeber the name but it was a European-wide project. All Boris has to do is force the same from all wifi suppliers in London. No need for additional kit, probably just router firmware upgrades. If BT can implement it how hard can it be?

Anonymous Coward

IT centres in Wythenshaw?

You've got to be joking haven't you?

Unless they had 24/7 armed guards the building, the local thieving scumbags will have it away with all the hardware every five minutes.

Pirate because Wythenshaw is the only place on the planet with more bandits than the Gulf of Aden.


I've stumbled into an elephant trap...

Tousle-haired mayor of london in shock foot-in-mouth non-shocker...

@ Matt - it was called Fon. It provides an interesting model. Doubtless most broadband providers have stuff in their t&c prohibiting sharing of the connection. However, Fon does prove that you can do it.

It could be done tomorrow via mesh networks. Just get providers to change their t&cs, get some open sauce software done and equip londoners with pringle tubes (the wifi antenna of choice). And foil balloons are useful too.

Of course, if you believe the woos, swamping london with even more electro-magnetic radiation will have terrible effects, increasing suicide, infertility and cancer. But I suppose it'll drive a lot of them out of Hampstead.

Mines the one with the tin foil hood.


Portsmouth too...

But I suppose that Pompeians are too fat and consume so many drugs that they don't get out much. They don't really need wi-fi given that they are totally wired.

Muncipal wi-fi in liverpool would have to only connect to websites that are mawkishly sentimental. But then, what do those who wallow in vicarious victimhood need with the interweb?

Just remember, ping-pong's coming home. But there could be orgies of chief-killing and cannibalism.

Mines the one nicked from Tariq Aziz.


Manchester, so much to answer for...

Oh, the rain falls down on a hum-drum town...

And caues attenuation problems.

Mines the one with the glove and the hand in it.

And I'll probably never see you again

I'll probably never see you again

I'll probably never see you again

Oh ...

Anonymous Coward
Black Helicopters

RE: IT Centres in Wythenshawe?

"24/7 armed guards" - you're actually not too far off the mark there.

Wythenshawe, being the largest council estate in europe was actually the ideal location for large data centres on the 1970's, reason being in that day and age they needed a plentiful supply of typists for data entry. Some still exist today but they don't advertised the fact for obvious reasons.

I worked at one in the 1990's - razor wire, bomb proof windows, that sort of thing. The scally's did manage to nick one of the security cameras once by throwing a rope over the 40 foot tower it was on, attaching the other end to a stolen jeep and driving away. But mainly they just threw paving stones at the windows and watched them bounce off.

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