updated 02:18 pm EDT, Fri June 1, 2012
Free Wi-Fi will migrate to prepaid system after the summer
Virgin Media has named the first London Underground stations that will be Wi-Fi enabled for no charge during the summer. The Internet service provider is installing hotspots at stations in the UK capital ahead of the London 2012 Olympic Games, with 80 stations due to be set up by the end of July, and 120 stations by the end of the year.
Users accessing the service will be greeted by a portal page offering Transport for London service information, journey planner, entertainment and news content, and will receive the service at no charge for the entirety of the summer. Afterward, the service will migrate to a prepaid system.
Recent capacity testing by Virgin Media engineers at Chancery Lane underground station involved hundreds of devices connecting to the station's Wi-Fi at exactly the same time, to reproduce the load the system would receive once a train pulls into the station. London's busiest Tube station, Waterloo, typically has 57,000 people entering during the three-hour morning peak, and sees the foot traffic of 82 million passengers over the course of one year. These numbers are expected to rise thanks to the summer Olympics.