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How Will Boris Johnson Pay For London WiFi Coverage?

Two days ago, the London Mayor, Boris Johnson announced that he's looking to convert UK's capital into the largest hotspot ever. This doesn't come with its own set of challenges and most importantly the question of where to get the money to spearhead such a project.

Mr Johnson was vague enough to give itself and its administration enough leeway to implement the project; we already know that the deadline will be the 2012 Olympics which is also when the London Mayoral elections will take place possibly in May that year with the games taking place from the 27th of July.

Back in 2007, the Square mile was blanket covered with what was at that time the most advanced outdoor WiFi network. But it didn't come free; unlimited WiFi from the Cloud (opens in new tab) still cost £9.99 per month for multiple devices while single units carry a cost of only £6.99 per month.

Some O2 customers already have free WiFi included in their mobile phone and broadband packages; it would therefore be logical for the Mayor to approach the broadband service provider for a strategic partnership especially as the costs would be minimal.

The second route that the Mayor might follow would be to submit a traditional tender for suppliers to come forward and submit their proposals, a process that costs money and takes time but is ultimately more transparent and accountable.

The third and possibly more promising route would be for Google to sponsor the whole process and install wireless internet access across London for free. Sure, private companies like BT or The Cloud would go haywire but Boris Johnson is known for his radical ideas and that could be one of them.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.