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Boris promises Wi-Fi blanket for London

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has promised public access wi-fi from "every lampstand, every bus stop" in London in time for the 2012 Olympics. Mayor Johnson didn't say how this would be funded or what - if anything - it would cost to use.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has promised public access wi-fi from "every lampstand, every bus stop" in London in time for the 2012 Olympics. Mayor Johnson didn't say how this would be funded or what - if anything - it would cost to use. With over 17,000 bus stops and around half a million streetlamps in the capital, it would be the largest single wi-fi network with contiguous geographical coverage the world. So far, 22 of London's 32 boroughs have signed up.

London has already seen other experiments in local government public wi-fi. The North London council of Islington launched its Technology Mile free access service in 2006, which ran along two of the borough's main roads. In 2008, it was extended to cover 10,000 users in a housing estate.

Other municipal wi-fi plans have not gone so well. A plan to light up Swindon with wi-fi has foundered with problems of conflict of interest between the council and Digital City UK, the consortium chosen to provide the service.