Cisco will lead a multi-million project to provide free, public WiFi in the City of London, the company has announced today.
The initiative, a joint effort between Cisco and mobile operator O2, is said to be one of the largest-ever investments in wireless infrastructure in London. Cisco and O2 are receiving assistance from Cornerstone Telecommunication Infrastructure (CTIL) and the City of London Corporation.
The project will deploy Cisco's own series of WiFi access points, the Aironet 1560, to offer connectivity to more than 400,000 people working in the Square Mile. The leaders of the scheme hope the network will be "more technically advanced" than those found in New York and Singapore.
"Free WiFi connectivity is now a pre-requisite for any city looking to drive innovation and compete on a globe scale," says Peter Karlstromer from Cisco.
"The deployment with O2, and partnership with CTIL and the City of London, is a perfect example of the role that cities can play in connecting people. We are excited to continue to support the roll out of free WiFi across London and ensure that next generation connectivity is accessible to everyone."
According to Cisco, the roll-out will enable users to enjoy high-bandwidth services, such as video-calling and video streaming, although, as is standard with public networks, users will need to register via email or their social media accounts to gain access.
"Continued investment in infrastructure is essential to maintain the UK's reputation as a digital leader and we needed a partner that would be able to provide cutting-edge technology to help us realise this," said Derek McManus, chief operating officer at O2.
"We're pleased to be working with Cisco to support this initiative using its robust, speedy and seamless technology to create a WiFi network and enable the capital to help retain its position as a leading global centre."
The project, part of the wider City WiFi scheme, will replace the current service provided by The Cloud and should be fully operational by this Autumn.
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