updated 09:50 pm EDT, Wed August 3, 2011
Free offering limited to 0.5Mbps
Virgin Media has confirmed plans to build a free Wi-Fi network across London. The company is said to be aiming to compete with British Telecom's Openzone network, which is only available for users willing to pay up to £6 for 90 minutes of connection time if they do not have a BT broadband subscription.
“The proposition would be that we would provide free Wifi access for all,” said Virgin Media cheif executive Neil Berkett, according to quotes in a Telegraph report.
Although Virgin's network will be available for free to all users, those without subscriptions to the company's home broadband service will be limited to speeds of just 0.5Mbps for general browsing. Broadband subscribers, however, will be able to take advantage of speeds of up to 10Mbps.
Berkett suggests his company is willing to dish out a "few million pounds" to "keep [BT] honest" and accommodate a gap in mobile broadband availability as companies transition from 3G to 4G networks for connected devices.
Virgin is currently involved in discussions with London councils for permission to install Wi-Fi routers throughout the company's existing infrastructure.