London launches free Wi-Fi in bid for 'world's most tech-friendly city'

London is getting free Wi-Fi hotspots just in time for the Olympics.

Just in time to meet the hoards of tourists descending on London for the Olympics, the city has launched a number of free outdoor Wi-Fi zones in some of the most popular destinations.

The move, as Councillor Philippa Roe explained to BBC, is all part of a "long term project to help make London one of the most technology-friendly cities in the world."

The service, provided by O2, will be available to all Internet users regardless of network or broadband provider. After a one-time (free) registration, users will be automatically connected when roaming around the hotspots.

And it will not only be free for users but also the city. O2 will cover the costs and use targeted advertising to recover the expenses.

According to the BBC, it's not just a stunt for the Olympics. These Wi-Fi zones will remain free even after the games are over.

The initial rollout of the program will happen at Oxford Street, Regent Street, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Parliament Square. Other areas, including Covent Garden, will be covered next.

However, it doesn't appear that the plan will cover any part of London's so-called Silicon Roundabout, a neighborhood with a high concentration of tech companies. If the free Wi-Fi zone is ever expanded, adding another free hotspot in that area would be a good idea. If nothing else, it would help the city's desired "tech-friendly" reputation and could help attract more tech companies to the area.

Image courtesy of O2

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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