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Virgin Media are set to trial a free Wi-Fi Hotspot service in
London named the 'Metro.' The latest roll out comes as Virgin
discovered there is large proportion of their network that is not
utilised throughout the day whilst majority of people are out of
their home. Virgin says they are meeting consumers' needs by
providing 3G accesses to people wherever they go in London. If the
plan gets the go ahead they will be able to supply internet
connection at the speed of half a megabit per second; whilst Virgin
customers will benefit from a much faster service of 10mbps. With
this bold demonstration of the possibility around Wi-Fi
connectivity across the capital, will other ISPs such as BT and
Talk Talk lose customers or be forced to follow suit?
This isn't the first major roll out of Wi-Fi services in the UK,
with food outlets such as McDonald's and Starbucks offering free
Wi-Fi not to mention the city of Birmingham! However when free
Wi-Fi hits the capital will it spell the end of the line for paid
internet services in the UK and will we follow parts of Europe and
the US? With technology constantly evolving such as smartphones and
tablets, consumers are more frequently getting their online kicks
on the move. With that in mind it does seem like an obvious move to
offer free Wi-Fi services across major UK cities. Widespread free
broadband would lead to more constantly connected consumers and
therefore more opportunities for brands to market their products
and a dramatic uplift in eCommerce payment led purchases.
Despite the obvious benefits to both consumer and brand the
current broadband and Wi-Fi technology available in the UK means
that consumers are only hitting around 30% of the speed of hard
line broadband in the home, which means that a great deal of
digital content is not delivered optimally. Combine this with the
obvious security risks which this type of service would bring means
that this development might be less blue sky and more pie in the
sky for the UK population, for the time being at least.
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