Why BT Should Not Run Wi-Fi Tube System

The efforts by BT and TFL to get Wi-Fi on London Underground station platforms should be applauded but we're not sure whether that's the right thing to do.

Opting for BT rather than any other service providers may be viewed as giving an unfair advantage to the country's biggest internet service provider especially as the service is free for BT clients (Openzone, broadband subscribers and FON) but not for others.

Given that many cafes or restaurants around London offer free Wi-Fi, it would have been fair for London Underground to provide the service for free for users of its service.

After all, with fare increases on the way in January 2011, and some annual travelcards costing more than £2700, free Wi-Fi would go a long way to make the jump in prices slightly sweeter.

In fact, TFL could be better off by turning the whole process into a revenue generating and goodwill venture by getting people to sign up for a future TFL's free Wi-Fi, one that would rely exclusively on (location based) advertising & could at the same time increase the fortunes of local businesses.

TFL should just outsource the backend infrastructure to BT (or any other ISP) but keep the ultimate control to itself.

(Ed : There are 270 LU stations with some such as Victoria, Waterloo or Oxford Circus, attracting more than 70 million entries and exits per year and carries well over one billion passengers over the same period.)