London top for Wi-Fi business use worldwide

The capital has the highest number of business-use Wi-Fi connections in the world, according to wireless company iPass

London is still the number-one city for business usage of Wi-Fi, according to mobility-management company iPass.

The capital came top for business use of iPass Wi-Fi hotspots in the second half of 2007, and this trend has continued, the company said in its iPass Mobile Broadband Index report, released on Monday. 

IPass provides connectivity to companies that run Wi-Fi hotspots, among other mobile-broadband services, and the report covers activity on this virtual network worldwide. Statistics from more than 3,000 businesses, using over 104,000 Wi-Fi locations in 80 countries, were gathered for the report.

In the first half of 2008, iPass business users in London had 31,842 sessions — an increase of approximately 27 percent over the same period in 2007, when there were 25,049 sessions.

"London has been the top city for a while, by quite a wide margin," Pierot De Paoli, iPass director of global product marketing, told on Wednesday. The city ranked second, Singapore, had 20,333 sessions in the first half of the year.

De Paoli said the rankings were the result of the relative density of hotspots in the cities. London has over 1,300 hotspots, while Singapore has 1,100.

"Chelsea and Canary Wharf have a high density, as does the rest of the City," De Paoli said. He added that hotspots in London were better-established than in Singapore, so people knew where they were.

London's Heathrow was the third most popular airport for Wi-Fi connectivity, after Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International at number two and O'Hare in Chicago at number one. De Paoli attributed this to passenger volume: as carrier hubs, the US airports experienced more passenger traffic.

De Paoli added that, for the first time, iPass had seen more Wi-Fi usage in Europe than in North America, due to there now being more hotspots and more roaming broadband usage. iPass supports European Commission proposals to cut the costs of data roaming.

"We offer mobile-broadband services and we see the price of roaming as an inhibitor," said De Paoli. "We're all for [limiting the price]. We're all for anything that will allow people to get connected more easily."