Free-hotspot.com group and Wi-Fi network infrastructure firm MeshHopper, have teamed up to launch
a free metropolitan Wi-Fi network in London, covering around a 13.6 mile stretch of the River Thames, running through the centre of the capital. The network coverage will be extended to 22.3 miles by August.
"This really marks the arrival of free Wi-Fi in Greater London," said Dan Toomey, chief executive of Free-hotspot. "Millions of Londoners, as well as commuters, visitors and tourists, can now expect to find free Wi-Fi as they work or play along the Thames."
The launch continues with the gradual trend towards free public wireless access in the U.S. and Europe. The free network, which is being marketed at "Online-4-free.com
", requires users to watch 30 seconds ads every 15 minutes to access the network at download speeds of just 256Kbps. There is also a paid option, ranging up to $20 a month for 500 Kbps download speeds.
With many portable devices such as PDAs and cell phones now supporting Wi-Fi, city wide networks start to get very useful for users on-the-go who want to catch up on their emails or maybe even make some free VoIP calls.